Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 The year that was

2015 as been a bizarre year on the whole, the whole of my year can be summed up with these keywords #work #Elizabeth #cycling #football #eating out, pretty much in that order.

WORK as taken up way too much of my time this year, however to achieve the goals I set myself then sacrifices have had to made. Next year things are going to be different!
One of the things that is vaguely enjoyable is the staying away, This year I've stayed away all over the UK and even Denmark, from London, N. Wales, N. England, Lake District and all over Scotland. I've stayed in mostly excellent and some of the meals have been outstanding.

Like everyone of the last nine years that she as been alive, my daughter Elizabeth totally dominates my life, like every year we have been on many adventures. We spent a week away in N. Wales in September, even though the weather wasn't what you would expected we still had a brilliant time.

Elizabeth is mostly involved with my cycling these days, I would like to do more by myself but sadly I choose to find too many excuses not too.

Lastly football, Elizabeth is now playing for an under 10's girls football team and at the time of writing this her as played 5 games, won 2 and drew 3. I'm so proud of her and her new friends. They are such a great unit and hopefully next season they will stick together and progress through the leagues.

So to everyone that knows me, I wish you a super 2016 and to all the people I don't know I wish you a super 2016....

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Elizabeth's Football

My 9 year old daughter is quite an out going girl, providing I'm there! She takes part in a couple of sports, one of them being football.

She plays for the Belper Ladies under 10's or the Belper Bobcats. Today was her first game in the Derby league. I was super impressed how she did, Elizabeth as a natural talent for running down the wing with the ball and passing it to her forwards, her weakness is confidence in front of goal. However, I'm sure this will come if she chooses to keep going to football.

The score today was 1-0 to the Bobcats, a own goal separated the sides, however the other team only had 5 players, so our coach decided to field the same amount of players, a good gesture which meant he was able to rotate the team all game, the opposition were looking jaded by the end.

I got a little bit to excited in the first half when Elizabeth came close to scoring, I tried to be a littl bit quieter in the second half. I was disappointed with one of the parents from our team who wanted to call the match off because the other team didn't have the right number of players, it wasn't fair on them apparent. I suggested that it wouldn't be fair on our team to turn up. He maintained that at this age it is only a development sport and the result isn't important. I ventured that we didn't agree on that and whilst Elizabeth enjoying it is the most important thing to me, she does need to learn to work hard if she wants to get on. You can come second all your life or you can try to go one better. Her teams scores and league position aren posted so as not to discourage kids. Not sure about this either!

Anyway, despite having to get up early, Elizabeth throughly enjoyed herself and can't wait for the next match.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Kidney Stones

Last week, on my way home from Durham. An incredibly sharp and prolonged pain across my lower right abdomen. I was in little bit of panic mode because I didn't know what the pain was. I stopped at the Scotch Corner services and had five minutes then carried on. By Wetherby Services the pain was so bad that I had to call an ambulance and leave my car at the services.

The ambulance arrived and took me to Harrogate Hospital, the pain was like nothing I'd ever had, I honestly thought I was going to die! The paramedic gave me gas and air, this didn't even touch the sides. Once in hospital I was given a intravenous paracetamol, this only hydrated me. Finally I was given morphine, this work better!

After an examination, I was told it was probably a kidney stone. With the morphine wearing off I was given diclofenic as a suppository, that did the trick!

I was admitted to the urology ward and tucked in for a night in hospital. How do people cope in hospital, they sure such unwell places. People being admitted, being sick, regular BP tests and snoring, my second night in there I only got about 1-1/2 hour sleep.

The following day I had ultrasound, a CT scan and an x ray, yes I had had a stone and still got one in me. Another horrendous night in hospital followed, bearing in mind I had no visitors due to fact I was still 130km from home. On the Saturday, I was finally seen by a consultant who said I will need a procedure to look in my kidney in the future and I had an infection which was a result of the stone. I eventually got out about 4pm. A taxi ride back to Wetherby services and a painful drive back home were it seemed I'd been missed.

Fast forward to today, thankfully I've not had a repeat of the pain, I'm feeling generally unwell. This is down to the antibiotics I'm taking, I have dizzy spells which is a result of another new tablet I'm taking and my body is getting over the trauma of passing the stone.

Moving forward, I've got to make an appointment with the urology department at Nottingham hospital and keep up with the antibiotics.

Moral of the day is : DONT GET A KIDNEY STONE......

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Surf Snowdonia

During our holiday in North Wales I took Elizabeth to the new Surf Snowdonia near Conwy.

This is a purpose built lagoon with a gigantic wave machine. If you can imagine a 500m running track for dimensions and in the middle of that an A frame running 70% of the length of the lagoon. At each end there is a large concrete block structure that serves as a winding station. A huge blade or paddle is pulled from one end to the other creating a huge 2M wave, this happens every minute. The engineering is very impressive.

I booked Elizabeth in the Groms class (8-13), included in the price of £34 is an hour tuition, surf time and wet suit hire.

The facilities and organisation are first class and Elizabeth's teacher Reece was a credit to the place.

Elizabeth took to it really well, so good that I'm going to book her in for more lessons. If your in the area and stuck for something to do, it's got to be worth a visit. Maybe, just maybe I'll think about surfing again providing they've got a wet suit big enough....

Friday, September 04, 2015

Pinnacle Arkose One

Due to my company being in the "Ride to Work" scheme, I get a new bike every year. Well, I said I get a new bike every year, last year I got a bike for my wife on the scheme. If you've not looked into or your company already is in the scheme, check it out.

For some time I've been trying to bridge the road/off-road terrain. I've tried a full on cyclo cross bike, this proved a little bit to radical, the gearing, angles and even the clearance geared more towards 50 minutes racing, not an all day thrash in the Peak District.

Currently there is a craze for Adventure road bikes or Gravel Bikes, the bikes are basically beefed up road bikes with wider tyres and disc brakes. On the face of it, this would seem perfect.

I've purchased a Pinnacle Arkose One from Evans Cycles:

The bike as an aluminium frame with carbon forks. The group set on this bike is mostly Shimano Sora 9spd, I could have gone up to a Tiagra equipped bike for maybe another £60, but I felt I would be compromising on the quality of the frame. I believe I made the right decision, I only use about 4 gears at the back the back anyway. Alex rim wheel set with Kenda small block 42mm tyres. The finishing kit is by Pinnacle.

First impressions are very good, the ride is super comfy, all day riding is now less of an effort and riding on the local trails is a lot faster than on my MTB.

I do have a couple of niggles though. The disc brakes whilst I believe are perfect for this type of riding are cable actuate, comparing them to my hydraulic discs on my MTB I'd rate them 3/10! The front brake is perfect, stopping in an instant. The rear brake is the issue, even when I've spent a couple of hours dialling it in the brake just doesn't stop me, only just feeling like it's slowing me down. There is also an irritating chirpy, whining noise which comes intermittently. It can be stopped by slightly putting the brake on, which seems counter what would stop it. I'm going to have one more go at it and if it doesn't keep quiet then the bike will have go back. There are hydraulic brakes for road bikes, but the cost is over my budget.

I'm not going to let the back brake ruin the overall experience of the Arkose One and I would recommend people buy one. I'm looking forward to fitting lights and doing some serious winter training.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bangkok Bombing

Last night Bangkok was rocked by a bomb at the Erewan Shrine in the heart of the city.

The bomb looks like it was some sort of pipe bomb affair left and inflicted mass injuries, currently 17 people are confirmed dear and nearly 120 injured.

Thai authorities say that the likely perps are foreign, apparently Thai people wouldn't do that to Thai people, but it's not a terrorist attack either.

More rational commentators have mentioned internal politics, the southern insurgents getting ballsy and moving their conflict towards the conflict, my betting is on that it has something to do with the treatment of the Uighur people. Thailand is a gateway for a lot of trafficked people in this area. The Uighur are Chinese Muslims with descendants from Turkey. Recently Thailand send back over 100 refugees back to Thailand instead of sending then back to Turkey. This didn't go down well with the Muslim world particularly in Turkey.

Whoever the perps are, they are using the usual cowardly terrorist tactic of bombing and killing innocent people. Hopefully this is just a one off....

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Typical UK spring day

May bank holiday and the British weather does it usual! A bit of suns him and boat loads of rain!

Elizabeth and I took the opportunity to visit the new street art in Belper which commemorates how Belper youth lived, worked and fought 100 years ago. In the series of life like pictures, local young lads of the same age as those who joined up in WW1 have had there photos taken and the prints put up round Belper.

Excellent thought out pictures.

Being as we were near the river gardens I took the out my Nikon to get some better than usual phone pictures. The effects were great. We got the pictures below just before there was a mega tempest.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fast Car Hire still in business

Two years ago, I was well and truly ripped off by a con hire car company caledFast Car Hire based in London.

I paid in full for my car hire. On the day of the hire I received an email to say I had to pay for the hire again, as they had made an accountancy error. More like gone for a meal on my money!

Below is the email I received from the robbing company. It's really like being left stranded...

Look at this link and remember it could be you next time..

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Working away

My job means that I have to work away from home on a regular basis.

Several weeks a year I stay away all week,  usually this is with a colleague for company,  however the week just past I had to complete the week alone. At first is ok,  but on the second day you realise that you haven't spoken to anyone about anything other than work,  the driving starts to take its toll and the days begin to meld into one.

I always stay in nice hotels.  Monday I stayed in Glasgow at an hotel called CitizenM,  this is an uber modern hotel in the centre of Glasgow.  It as cubicle rooms with a huge bed that takes up over a third of the room,  it as superb wifi,  free movies and a really cool vibe.

The following day I spent at the Bird Hills Hotel in Edinburgh,  whilst the hotel was ok,  it was somewhat out of the city centre so I had to eat in the hotel. Again not speaking to a soul.

I then had a super long drive after my appointment in Edinburgh,  I finished up at the Black Lion Hotel near Abergele in North Wales. This was in a super remote spot,  no mobile signal,  but remote in a peaceful type of a way. I had to eat at the pub because there wasn't anywhere else within 10 km.

The following night was spent in Harrogate,  this northern town is always a pleasure to stay in,  the choice of restaurants and bars is excellent and the Holiday Inn is superb.

Anyway,  the best thing about being away all week is the getting back home. Sadly planning my next excursion.  Luckily only for a couple of nights and both staying in Harrogateand the second night at least with colleagues.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Black Boy Inn Caernarfon

Last week I stayed away in North Wales,  I chose Caernarfon as my base.

I love north Wales,  it is without doubt my favourite part of the UK. Caernarfon can be a little intimidating,  most of the locals call Welsh their first language and it is probably the hub if Welsh nationalism. Do not let this put you off, the town as many excellent hotels and restaurants and the castle is top drawer.

I stayed at The Black Boy Inn, from the outside it looks like a small pub,  somehow there are 21 rooms shoe horned into the place. I paid £60 for a night bed and breakfast which is excellent value.

There is a small car park,  first come first served so get there early. The wifi in the hotel is first class.

My room had a four poster bed which is very comfy,  the bathroom is quite large with all modern fittings.
I ate at the hotel,  the food is fine but there are better places to eat just a sort walk away. You can put your bill to the room bill.

Breakfast is very good, fresh ingredients and piping hot. The service throughout the hotel is excellent.

I award The Black Boy a sound 8/10 and would definitely use them again.

Facebook, the death of personal blogs

It's been nearly a year since I've entered anything into this blog. I've come to the conclusion that the downfall of the blog directly mirrors my use of Facebook.

All the relevant topics I used to cover are now mostly covered in my Facebook pages. My family life and also my work life.

I have spent some time thinking what this blog could manifest itself in to, I've tried Thai life and politics, in all fairness the situation in Thailand is so out of here I struggle to get a grip of what is going on. I still want to incorporate any news from Thailand and should anything stand out I'll put it in a post.

My daily ventures at work could be very relevant, I stay away in many places during the week and these could easily make for a good post. Sharing some of my Facebook posts might also be an idea.

So over the next few weeks I will try and put some posts up and see if I can kindle some interest, both for anyone who actually reads this blog and also for myself.

See you all soon.