Thursday, 30 December 2010

The last post of 2010...

Before I start, the date reads Thursday 30 December when in fact it's the morning of Friday 31 December.
The Cottage Lodge – click here for more details.

The snow has restricted us and we haven't been out for a few weeks as a result. Andy flew to Jamaica on the 20th of December and then it was Christmas time. I did the usual: mother-in-law's on Christmas Day (I cooked the turkey and drove it over) and then on Boxing Day it was round to my folks. We went straight down to the New Forest on 27th December to visit our pals at the Cottage Lodge,  a cosy bed & breakfast hotel in Brockenhurst and now it's New Year's Eve and at 0720hrs it's still dark outside, although I can hear the birds tweeting to sunrise can't be far off.

Our room.


I considered a ride today but I think I'll leave it until tomorrow unless Jon calls, in which case I'll go to Woodmansterne Green. To be totally honest, I could do with a cycle as I've been stuffing my face with Christmas cake, Quality Street, Roses and beer and a bit of exercise would do me some good, but I doubt if I'll go. Tomorrow's a definite, though.

Pic courtesy of www.zakomedia.com
Nothing else to report, other than I've just eaten a bowl of cornflakes (Waitrose Essential brand) and drank a large mug of tea. I'll probably have a bowl of porridge later – it doesn't get more exciting than that, eh?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Mobile phone version of blog available

Just to say that I've ticked some box or other that makes a special mobile phone version of the blog available. Tried logging on via the iphone yesterday and it works!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Snowstorm latest


In an effort to ensure that his flight to Jamaica takes off on time today, Andy decides to build a make-shift runway outside his house.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Another spooky churchyard photograph....

Snow ruled out cycling and I had to walk to our local
supermarket on Saturday afternoon, which meant another
saunter through the churchyard. I took this shot on the iPhone.
Spooky churchyard scenes are becoming rather familiar to readers of this blog, thanks to the snow. We had a shed load of the stuff fall yesterday around 1030hrs and it went on and on throughout the day, although it wasn't (isn't) as deep as it was on December 1st when over a foot fell on Sanderstead. This time it was about five or six inches, but it's still there now, as I sit in the conservatory looking out on the garden and there's no way the bike is coming out of the garage; for a start, I wouldn't get the garage door open without a fight and I know for a fact that I'd come off within yards of mounting the Scrap.

I'm assuming that Andy isn't waiting for me on the Green and I'm hoping that the airports will be clear for him tomorrow when he and his wife Marcia fly off to Jamaica for Christmas.

"The weather outside is frightful..."

I called my brother and pretended I was out on the bike, approaching Woodmansterne Green and where the hell was he, but the phone had switched to voicemail and I can only assume he hasn't heard it yet. In fact, I know he hasn't, because he called me and I had to explain how I'd left a message for him.

Anyway, outside right now, the snow is falling, quite heavily. Yesterday it fell from the skies in the early afternoon and my car had to be abandoned half way along the Upper Selsdon Road. I went back there around 9pm and drove it home as the roads had cleared. Now, the snow has started again and my thoughts turn towards the Christmas tree, which we haven't bought yet. It looks as if I'll have to walk in the snow to get the food, but hey, I've done that before and it's really no hardship. In fact, it makes for an adventure and the opportunity for me to pretend (to myself) that I'm Scott or Shackleton – or a contestant on 70 Degrees North.

The bike will remain in the garage this weekend, despite Andy and I resolving to go tomorrow; although, who knows? If the temperatures pick up and the snow thaws, we might well get out there. I'll keep you all informed.

No doubt Simon Cotter out in Australia has completely different weather. I mean, the very thought of having my Christmas lunch on the beach makes me shudder, but out there it's probably boiling hot sun and foot-burning sand, not to mention warm seas and ice cream. But not here in the UK.

Anyway, I'll better hang up – or rather stop writing. Oh, on an historical note, this time last year it was snowing too, check out the archive.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Cycling and running boom shows appetite for sports participation

Cycling's number is up by almost 100,000,
claims British Cycling's CEO, Ian Drake
New participation figures published by Sport England paint a mixed picture of progress in grassroots sport, with strong growth in running and cycling but a decline in other major sports, including football and swimming.  

Overall, the slow but steady increase in participation numbers seen over the past five years continues, with 6,938,000 people now taking part in sport at least three times a week. Today’s Active People Survey results show that regular participation is now 123,000 closer to the Government’s aim to get one million people playing more sport by 2012/13.

Weekly participation in athletics (including running) has swelled by over 263,000 over the past two years, buoyed by a growing network of informal running groups across the country. Over the same period, cycling’s numbers are up by almost 100,000. British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said:

“We put great stock on trying to ensure our participation initiatives truly meet the needs of those we’re hoping to get involved in our sport. Indeed, we can partly put the continued success of Sky Ride down to the fact that we listen to participants and adapt our offerings based on the feedback we receive. We’re committed to getting more people on their bikes and importantly, keeping them cycling. What is particularly exciting for us is that we’re confident there’s plenty more to come and throughout 2011 we will be launching more new initiatives to help get more people cycling more regularly.”

Netball’s participant numbers are up by over 26,000, an increase of a fifth in the size of the sport in two years. Much of this success comes from the Back to Netball programme, which tempts women to return to the sport with a fun and flexible offer.

This is just one of the initiatives that have contributed to a recovery in women’s participation in 2010, but the gender gap in sport remains a challenge.

Of real concern, however, is the continued under-performance of five of the top seven participation sports, including the only sports with more than two million weekly participants - swimming and football. Their size means that this decline has a major impact on the overall growth of grassroots sport.

For these two – and other sports such as cricket and rugby – the challenge is to arrest the drop in participation outside the club structures where they have traditionally focused most of their attention.

The past 12 months have also been a tough period for sports that are costly and time-consuming such as golf, sailing and skiing. There has been a marked drop in participation in these activities among men aged between 35 and 44, a key period of economic productivity in most people’s lives.

Sport England ’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said:

“It would be fair to describe today’s results as a mixed bag. It’s good to see a wide range of sports – from individual pursuits like running to small team sports like lacrosse - demonstrating that, with the right approach, increasing grassroots participation is a realistic ambition.

“What is concerning, however, is that a number of major sports have yet to deliver, despite significant levels of investment. They now urgently need to demonstrate their ability to grow participation in their sport and prove they can make a significant contribution to sport at the grassroots level.”

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, said:

“During the comprehensive spending review we fought hard to get a good settlement for sport, keeping the Whole Sport plans in place. Now it is vital to see a return from the investment sports get from the public purse. I want every pound that national governing bodies spend on the grassroots to count.

“Our recently launched ‘Places People Play’ strategy will help get more people participating but we also need sports governing bodies to step up to the plate and deliver. Some sports are making progress such as athletics and netball and we need to learn lessons from them to get growth across the board.”


Source: Sport England

Andy's off to Jamaica – and they're promising more snow in the UK

A view that Andy will see a lot over Christmas
On Monday, Andy flies off to glorious sunshine in Jamaica for his Christmas break and I bet he's not even bothered about missing the Top Gear Christmas Special either. While yours truly is cycling in the rain and sleet to Woodmansterne Green on Boxing Day, Andy will be lying on a beach somewhere and the last thing on his mind will be cycling and whether or not he should wear his hat underneath his crash helmet.

The Jamaican Flag
He won't even be able to access the net to check out the blog and find out how we're all doing back here in Blighty where there's nowt to do but watch the Eastenders Christmas punch-up and other banal television programmes. Oh, alright, there's the Queen's Speech and, if we're lucky, there might be some student protests to liven things up a bit, but Andy's going to miss it all and I bet he's really cheesed off about it too.

The view that Matthew will see a lot over Christmas
(pic from http://stitchesoftime.wordpress.com)

Still, here's hoping he has a good time and is refreshed and ready for some January cycles, which are bound to be jam-packed with snow, sleet, rain and wind.

Update from last weekend...

Sorry about the rant on student protests. Had I gone out cycling on Sunday it probably would never have been written, but hey ho!

We cycled to Tatsfield Village on Saturday and it was pretty cold but it was a fairly unadventurous journey. Sunday didn't happen last week, but we're both game on for a ride this coming Sunday, the day before Andy flies off to Jamaica.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Student protests – there's comedy in everything

The student protests in the week provided me with an opportunity to laugh out loud, mainly because there was a very strong element of comedy in the involvement of two members of the royal family, namely Prince Charles and Camilla.

Prime Minister Feathers McGraw claims that the full
force of the law will be brought to bear on 'the feral thugs'
Imagine, for a minute, that you are an angry protester, quite rightly fed-up to the back teeth with Nick Clegg and his ballot box betrayal; you're a bit hard up, thanks to the global banking crisis (nothing to do with Gordon Brown as the Tories would have you believe) and you face years of idealogically-motivated 'austerity measures' courtesy of George 'it doesn't bother me, I'm a multi-millionaire' Osborne. In other words, you are paying for the reckless bankers who have squandered everything and it's all coming out of YOUR taxes. Furthermore, you hear rumour that not only are the bankers edging their way back to big bonuses, but that big companies, like Vodafone and Top Shop (owned by that big, fat bloke who quite obviously eats miles too much and does little in the way of exercise) are managing to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxes. In the case of fat Top Shop bloke, he's sending it all to his wife who lives in Monaco – forget demonstrators, we need lynch mobs!

So, there you are: your kids won't be able to afford university – that's now to be reserved for people who speak like Kirstie Allsopp – you're likely to be made redundant and all the fat cats, unlike you, are avoiding paying their taxes. What's more, Eton-educated, Bullingdon Club member Feathers McGraw, aka David Cameron – take a look, they really were separated at birth – is talking about the Big Society, which we all know boils down to the attitude of 'you do it' – meaning that the Government's austerity measures are cutting things back so drastically that you, the man and woman in the street, can clear your own snow, grit your own roads – and all under the guise of 'the big society' and 'pulling together as a team'. Two words spring to mind and one of them is 'off'.

There's a lot of anger about, for all the reasons outlined above and that's liable to make any self-respecting demonstrator a little unhappy with Theresa May's assertion that peaceful protest is acceptable. Why, in heaven's name, would a protester want to do anything that was acceptable to the seagull-resembling home secretary? And, as one of the Whitechapel anarchists pointed out on television during the first wave of student protests a few weeks ago, when has peaceful protest ever achieved anything? He had a point.

So, the scene was set for a bit of a civil unrest and yes, of course, it got out of hand, like any good demonstration does, but the punchline was tremendous. A bungling royal security department decided to send a huge, black, gleaming Bentley carrying two super toffs – the very people that sum up the whole problem and who won't be suffering at all under the coalition's austerity measures. Round the corner they cruise into the path of a breakaway group of demonstrators and just imagine it for one moment, as I did on Saturday morning, what they, the protesters, must have thought. A huge, black, shiny, ostentatious symbol of wealth with huge, clear windows showing off its valuable cargo – that of the future king and queen who were unwittingly taunting the protestors from the supposed safety of the car.

Well, I don't know about you, but those students must have been eager to prise open their cans of vinyl matt emulsion and, as the car passed by, they must have been even more elated when they discovered that one of the windows was open. Game on!

For some reason, I found it all terribly funny, mainly because it was so ridiculous, like a situation comedy, which got even funnier when I heard some of the demonstrators chanting "off with their heads, off with their heads!".And then, of course, there was the possibility that some of those surrounding the royal Bentley were members of an anarchist group called The Wombles. Surely, Uncle Bulgaria's finest moment.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Ghostly snow images from the iphone...

Who would have thought that a walk to the supermarket could be so spooky?
A stroll in the snow to get some milk proved pretty spooky last week (it was either Thursday 2nd December or Friday 3rd December). This shot was taken around 4pm in the afternoon as I walked through the local churchyard at the top of Church Way. I pass through here every weekend morning on the bike, en route to Warlingham Green, but in the snow it looks a little spooky, don't you think?

Church Way, the first climb on any cycle that involves Warlingham Green.
Every cycle that involves meeting at Warlingham Green means a ride up Church Way, home, incidentally, of supermodel Kate Moss when she was growing up. Rumour has it that her mum still lives there, but how true that is, I don't know. This shot taken en route to the supermarket and just minutes before the churchyard shot above.

It's kind of customary to make a snowman when it snows, complete with a scarf. As I write this, the snow has thawed considerably and the snowman is but a shadow of his former self.

Despite Andy's offer of a cycle this morning, I foolishly bottled out on the assumption that we'd get a soaking in the slush. As always, I'm beginning to regret my decision.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Heavy snow rules out cycling

This picture seems to sum it up nicely. Photo credit: Metro.co.uk
The UK has been freezing cold and covered in snow all week. Oddly, the south seems to be pretty badly hit. I was in Derby at the beginning of the week and we were able to drive around in minicabs from one destination to another. It was cold, yes, but everyone was still mobile – apart from the trains. The 1918 train to London from Derby arrived at around 2005 and I reached London on Wednesday night at 2200 only to discover that trains further south were virtually non-existent. I eventually boarded a train to West Croydon, which went the long way round, and then took a taxi home, but at double fare because it was snowing. Now that's a good example of capitalism at its very worst. Still, needs must. I did, however, direct my minicab driver up a very slippery road and, as I walked away having paid double fare, I heard his car struggling on the icy hill. Here's hoping he's still there now, eh?

I seriously doubt if there will be any cycling this weekend. There's roughly a foot of snow outside my front door. Well, okay, it's thawing a bit now, but it's been about a foot all week.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

I almost literally froze my bollocks off...

Trees lining Warlingham Green on Sunday November 28th 2010 some time after 8am.
The UK is currently in themidst of a nasty cold spell and it makes for a chilly cycle
 to Botley Hill – so cold we went there and back non-stop
The weathermen have been going on about the cold weather for some time and I knew that, sooner or later, I'd be exposed to it, early in the morning – when it's normally the coldest – and while on a bike (with the cold breeze on my face). But then I remembered that I'm the proud owner of one of those terrorist balaclavas; you know the sort of thing: green, holes for mouth and eyes and pretty terrifying. So, with the outside world looking like the inside of my freezer compartment, I donned long johns, scarf, jumper, jacket, teeshirt (plenty of layers) and headed outside for the bike.

In memoriam – two wooden crosses in the icy ground commemorating
Warlingham's war dead
To be honest, with all the gear on, I didn't feel at all cold and smugly set off for Warlingham Green. We'd agreed, Andy and I, to meet on the Green at 8am, mainly because I'd had a later night than expected. I texted Andy to see if he was happy to meet half an hour later than usual – and of course he was.

Unlike me, Andy doesn't have a balaclava. He set out with just a crash helmet on and had to return home to get a hat. As a result, he was about 20 minutes late, giving me time to take a photograph of myself wearing the balaclava as well as some other shots: one of an ice sculpture somebody had left on the Green and another of two small, wooden crosses in remembrance of dead soldiers.

Ice sculpture on Warlingham Green
The cold weather prompted a short burst to Botley Hill and back, non-stop, with a view to a cup of tea in the Village Café, but Andy declined the caff and I didn't fancy sitting there alone so we both cycled home. While I was smug (to myself) throughout most of the journey about how warm I was (especially when Andy said he'd have to buy a balaclava), my smugness turned to pain when I realised that I had, almost literally, frozen my bollocks off. Well, not my bollocks, but the other bit. Not only had it shrunk to the size of a cocktail sausage or, more precisely, a broken-off piece of pepperami, it was as cold as ice; so cold that it hurt. Had I been noted for acrobatics, I might have provided my cock with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation so instead I resorted to thawing it out in front of the fire (hoping that nobody passing by would have any idea of what I was doing).

Don't get me wrong, this was serious stuff and being as there was nobody else around I figured the sooner I warmed up the old chap, the better; but the old chap was having none of it and in the end I resorted to a warm shower, which sorted everything out and, after a while, I felt human again. It made me think seriously about researching whether 'willy warmers' – a novelty piece of knitwear from the 80s – were real and, if so, where could I get one.

Once Andy gets his balaclava we plan to re-name our blog as
 The Real No Visible Lyrca or, as I suggested, the Continuity No Visible Lycra.
Call the cops!
Anyway, I've made a complete recovery, you'll be glad to know. Incidentally, it takes 45 minutes to cycle from Warlingham Green to Botley Hill and back and, for me, a further 15 minutes to get home from the green. Not bad, eh? Anyway, what's that, one hour and twenty to cycle 14 miles. Is that good or bad and does it really matter?

I didn't go cycling yesterday (Saturday 27th November) because I went to Twickenham to watch England be beaten by South Africa. The final score was 21-11 and yes, it was cold. Thanks to Sky TV, however, we had a nice, warm box, and some decent food too.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Losing the Lycra-clad clods - Part Two.

"Okay, when I say the word, just chuck your bike at them," I advised Andy.
"What about yours?"
"I'll throw mine too, don't worry."
"And what's the word?"
"The word? It was a riotous television show on Channel Four, produced by Paul Ross and hosted by Mark Lamarr and that Mancunian bloke, Terry Christian."
"No, not The Word, the word, the word you're going to say that means 'chuck the bike?'"
"Oh, it's 'now'. When I say 'now' you chuck your bike."

We both lifted our bikes over our heads, and realised for the first time how heavy they were.
"Mine weighs a ton," said Andy.
"Mine too," I replied.
"Should we really be lifting our bikes over our heads? It gives them a good idea of what we're about to do."
"Good point," I said, lowering my bike. Andy followed suit.
"We'll lift them up again when they get nearer," I said, watching the two Lycra-clad figures as they approached.
"Okay. Now!" I exclaimed and both of us lifted our bikes over our heads and threw them in the general direction of the Power Rangers. The bikes both hit their targets and the two Lycra Louts were floored. It was time to run. We didn't dare look round.

"Keep running!" I exclaimed.
"I am," said Andy.
"Head over there, towards the woods; we'll lose them in there."

Behind us, the Lycra people had recovered from the shock of two mountain bikes hitting them square-on and were now mounting them and preparing for the chase.

"My God! They're on our bikes, they're still in the game," observed Andy.

Sure enough they were pedalling our way and were in pursuit. We had enough time to reach the woods and then double back on ourselves with a view to losing our pursuers. We ran along a dirt track that was hemmed in on either side by thick evergreen shrubs.

"Quick! Over there! We can hide over there!" I said, jumping off the main path with Andy close behind me.
"Now what?" asked Andy.
"We'll wait here until they pass and then double back and escape."
"But what about our bikes?"
"I hadn't thought of that," I said, touching my chin, looking skyward and wondering what to do next.
"We'll have to set a trap,"I suggested.
"How?"
"We need some trip wire and then, when they retrace their steps we can knock them off their bikes."
"Our bikes."
"Yes, our bikes. We can knock them off our bikes and then jump on the bikes and get away."
"Sounds like a plan," said Andy.
We waited in the bushes.
"Hold on," said Andy. "Where are we going to get trip wire from in the woods?"
"You have a point. I know a little hardware shop on Warlingham Green, but that's quite a way from here."
"Let's just shout out, get them to come back this way and then jump them and get our bikes back," suggested Andy.
"Good idea," I said.
We both started to shout obscenities in the general direction of the vanishing Power Rangers and sure enough they stopped and retraced their route.
"They're coming back!" said Andy.
"Yes, but now we've got to jump them."
"We'll let them pass and then run up behind them," said Andy.
"Good idea."
The two Lycra-clad clods were soon within earshot and we listened intently to their conversation.
"So I thought the Legal & General package was the right one for me, bearing in mind I'd already exhasted the ISAs and I don't hold out much hope of a settlement from Equitable Life..."

We were ready for them.

"Get ready to jump and be very quiet," I said.

To be continued!


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Looking back...

Hi, readers! Just a very brief one; I've been looking back on past posts and this time last year – or thereabouts – we all cycled to Woodmansterne Green after a heavy downpour of rain. Jon joined us under the gate at the church and then a racist lorry driver arrived asking for directions to somewhere. It then rained very heavily and we all got drenched on the route home – that was a year ago this coming weekend.

It's quite good looking back on past posts so check out the archive!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Woodmansterne Green on November 13 2010

Jon on Woodmansterne Green, Saturday 13 November 2010
Here's Jon on Woodmansterne last weekend (13 November 2010).

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Tatsfield Bus Stop and Tatsfield Village

A misty Tatsfield Village Green,  Sunday November 21st 2010

A low-key cycling weekend with trips out to the Tatsfield bus stop and then, on Sunday, Tatsfield Village. The weather was misty on Sunday and grey and cloudy on Saturday. No sign of Jon this weekend. More details to follow as my internet connection is bad and needs repairing.

An interesting 'installation' on the village green at Tatsfield

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

I love the Guardian's Q&A page in Weekend magazine...

I love Saturdays. Once I return from my early morning cycle, I nip down to the newsagent and buy the Guardian and then return home, sit in the conservatory and read Weekend magazine; it's the best! First, I read Tim Dowling's column, then I take a brief look at Your Pictures before reading the Q&A, possibly Experience (this week's 'I nearly died after eating wild mushrooms' was good) and then I switch to the back and read the excellent Snooping around column by Anna Timms; I love Wreck of the Week and often imagine myself buying some strange and remote cottage on the Northumberland coast. I can't be bothered with Blind Date, but I love Oliver Burkeman's This column will change your life and then I read the Review section of the newspaper – or rather, I give it a quick flick through, stopping, perhaps at Author Author or one of the main features. I have to admit that I am still mourning the loss of Writers' Rooms. Why was it discontinued? I loved reading about and looking at the rooms where accomplished writers write – so if anybody on the Guardian is reading this (which I doubt) please reinstate it.

The best feature is the Q&A and I've often sat there in my conservatory answering the questions myself and suddenly thought: what a great idea! I'll answer them for the blog and invite other readers to answer the same questions. So, here's my answers – email me yours and I'll publish them too.

When were you happiest?
On holiday in the seventies in Felpham, West Sussex. Mum and dad used to rent a house right on the beach and for some reason, the sun was always shining.
What is your earliest memory?
My younger brother Jon returning, newly born, from the maternity ward, concealing a toy train under his shawl for me: I was three years old.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
A tendency towards laziness and just doing nothing.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Uncalled for stroppy behaviour.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Kona Scrap dirt jumper that I bought on a credit card in 2006 and haven't stopped riding since. My pal Andy has a Kona Blast and my brother Jon a Kona Fire Mountain so perhaps I should apply for a job as a salesman with Kona UK.
Where would you like to live?
In a house on the beach on the South Coast of England.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
My father-in-law, Norman Woodley.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
It's a toss-up between Kevin Spacey and Nicholas Cage. Although Andy Kaufmann would do a good job if he was still alive.
What is your favourite smell?
A freshly creosoted fence; the smell of hops from a pub doorway; and the sea.
What would be your fancy dress of choice?
I don't do fancy dress parties.
What is the worst thing anyone's said to you?
Once, many years ago, a man called David Peachell told me I had little going for me when I went to see him at a recruitment agency in, if I recall correctly, Liverpool Street in London.
What do you owe your parents?
Everything.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Anybody I was obnoxious to after one too many beers.
What does love feel like?
The answer would, out of necessity, be too pretentious for words.
What was the best kiss of your life?
With my wife when she was my girlfriend, on a bus.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Quite a lot of unsuitable expletives.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I'd go back and get a decent education – and I'd definitely go to university.
How often do you have sex?
I couldn't possibly comment.
What song would you liked played at your funeral?
Pop Music by M. "Mix me a Molotov!"
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don't mess around at school.
Tell us a secret.
I can't, for obvious reasons.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Quick! They're coming! Head for the fields!

"Where is he?"
The deepening greyness of the sky above lent an air of foreboding to our brief excursion to Tatsfield. We'd met, as usual, on Warlingham Green and decided that the bus stop was as far as we'd be going today – there was evil in the air and we wanted no part of it.
"Who's that?"
As we headed up the deserted B269, trees on either side of us in the early stages of the ride, we both kept our eyes peeled. We were on the look-out for Lycra-clad, Power Ranger cyclists on lightweight racing bikes. You know the sort: concerned only about 'precious grams' and how fast they can get from A to B and not in the slightest bit interested in tea and cakes and riding large, cumbersome mountain bikes with no hope in hell of gettting anywhere fast, let alone be a part of the Tour de France.





"That's him! He's the culprit!"
The weather remained grey and uncertain as we broke into open ground and found ourselves exposed. Fortunately for us, there were no power ranger types to be seen; not this early at any rate. Give it half an hour, though, and they'd be out in force, chatting about pensions and golf as they made their way towards Westerham or further afield, who knows? Certainly not us; we were more concerned with reaching the shelter provided by the old wooden bus stop just outside of Tatsfield Village. 
The rain continued to hold off and both Andy and I knew we'd reach the relative safety of the bus stop where we could enjoy a cereal bar and a cup of tea, but we'd have to be careful, the Power Rangers would be out soon and that meant we'd need to be on our guard.


As we sipped our tea and threw our teabags on to the grass in front of us, we knew it wouldn't be long. And then, as if we had willed the situation into reality, two Lycra-clad Power Rangers approached riding Specialized racing bikes and chatting about Legal & General. Fortunately, we were ready for them: tea finished, cereal bars eaten and packs on our backs, we were prepared for the journey home, but we weren't ready for what happened next.


When you're a roughly-dressed, unshaven member of NoVisibleLycra, the urge to say something occasionally gets the better of you; and so it was for me this morning; I couldn't help but exclaim, within earshot, some nastiness towards our Lycra-clad enemies, not really expecting them to hear me, but they did; there was a screech of brakes and we knew they were coming after us.


"We'll never beat them on tarmac," said Andy.
"Then we'll have to go off-road," I said, mounting my trusty Kona and remembering a sticker on the side of an old Land Rover: "You can go fast, but I can go anywhere." It certainly applied on this occasion as Andy and I headed for the open ground of the fields beyond the bus stop.
"They're gaining on us," said Andy.
"I know," I said as we both positioned our bikes in the deep ruts left behind by agricultural machinery. "Stay within these tracks," I advised Andy and we pushed on, making good ground.
Suddenly, they appeared and the chase was truly on.
"Come and have a go if yer think yer hard enough!" I exclaimed, foolishly, while sticking up two fingers at our approaching adversaries. The comment angered them even more and it wasn't long before they were almost upon us.


Thick mud hindered our progress and soon we both realised that we'd have to simply turn around and fight. We stopped and reached for the heavy-duty spanners we always carried in our rucksacks in case of a puncture; they would be our only weapons, but we figured that, being concerned about their 'precious grams', the Power Rangers would have nothing heavy duty in the tools department. In short, we were sufficiently 'tooled up' and ready for them.


As they drew nearer, however, we figured that combat was not our strong point, and that they, the Power Rangers, were much fitter than us; there was, in other words, nothing for it – we'd have to wait until we could see the whites of their eyes and simply throw our bikes at them...To be continued!!!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Excuse the late post...

Large quantities of strong dark ale proved to
be my downfall at a beer festival in Manchester
I've been a bit busy of late, travelling to different parts of the UK, getting a little over-the-top drunk on one occasion and, of course, I've been in the dog house at home as a result. Anyway, things have blown over and now I've got a little time to discuss last week's cycling.

Andy and I went down to Hunger's End in Merstham on Saturday of last week, that was November 6th, and then on November 7th we headed on down to Woodmansterne, a destination we haven't visited for a long time. We met Jon there, which was good, as we hadn't seen him for a while.

Andy near Merstham taking a photo of me taking
a photo of him.
For some reason we got chatting about prison, probably something to do with my drunken antics on 29 October when I attended a beer festival and, how can I put this, I had one too many and lost control of things. I rarely get drunk these days and the whole situation was rather embarrassing – you know the score, you drink too much, you kind of go on to automatic pilot and can't remember how you got home, what you said to people on the way, that sort of thing.

When I reached home in the early hours, I must have sobered up, but I had to sleep in the spare room and you know that horrible feeling when you open your eyes, think everything is fine and then you remember? It was like that. I felt okay, a bit weary, perhaps, but I didn't have a hangover and I spent most of Saturday trying to avoid any embarassing conversation with the missus. The whole incident has put me off drinking for a while and I'm now trying my best not to drink throughout November.

This picture sums up the season here in England at
the moment. In other words, it's the autumn.
During the drunken journey home from the North, I managed to text Andy to abort the cycling as there was no way that I'd have been fit enough to get on the bike and then on the Sunday (October 31, Halloween) I think it was raining. The worst thing about the Saturday was that the weather was fine, making it all the more irritating that I'd allowed myself to get into such a state and then not be able to go. On the Sunday, got half way up Church Way when Andy called and said it was pissing down over in Caterham and then, of course, it started to rain where I was in Sanderstead, so I turned round and went home, but that was the Halloween weekend. Last week it was Merstham and Woodmansterne and it was good fun on both days.

The St Helier Arms, Carshalton. It's not there any more.
The reason we were talking about prison was something to do with me being drunk on the 29th. We moved to discuss people we knew from our school days who had since 'done time' and that moved us on to various 'faces' from the past and some dodgy, high profile criminal types currently residing in prison. From there we started talking about a notorious pub in Carshalton called the St Helier Arms, a pub that has since been knocked down but was one of those places where you couldn't avoid trouble if you made the foolish decision to go in for a beer.

Dad's not been well, which is always a little worrying, but he's on the mend now, thank God, so generally speaking, things are good. Cycling tomorrow, of course, and probably Merstham and Hunger's End and then a shorter run on Sunday – weather permitting – but I think we'll escape a soaking this weekend.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Rain stops play

I think this photograph says it all. This pic was taken from
http://blogs.eveningsun.com
If it hadn't been for excessive drinking on Friday and not getting home until the early hours, then I'd have gone cycling yesterday as it was, if I recall a nice day. Sunday, however, is a different kettle of fish. Here I sit in my conservatory listening to the rain hammering down on the felt roof and I'm thinking, this ain't going to blow over soon.

To be fair, I'd gone out and noted the deep grey skies with interest, realising that I should have put my waterproof gear on, but I figured I'd escape a soaking for some reason. The rain started within five minutes of leaving the house, but not heavy, so I took cover underneath some trees and checked my phone, which was on silent, to see if Andy had called: he had.

Over in Caterham where Andy lives, it seems to rain harder and earlier than over here, some six miles away. He told me it was hammering it down and that, sooner or later, it would be over here in Sanderstead too. He was right. Fortunately, I was only on Church Way and decided, after some faffing about (during which I thought I'd push on to Botley, but fortunately wised up) to return home.

And here I am, writing the blog instead; so it looks as if I'll have to wait until next week.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

24 October 2010 – to Tatsfield Village

There are various ways of working out that it's winter – or there would be in a world devoid of people and the media. If the nightmare world depicted in Cormac McCarthy's The Road ever became reality, then, apart from no leaves on the trees and frost on car windscreens, there's always the fact that Andy stops wearing his shorts. On the morning of Sunday 24 October, Andy stood on the green minus his shorts – but fortunately not minus his trousers.

The green at Tatsfield Village as seen through the frame of my Kona.
We hadn't been cycling on the Saturday and I can't for the life of me remember why. It was probably raining and we just thought, no, not a soaking, not today. But Sunday was different. In fact, it was very pleasant and one of those days that somehow characterise our cycling.

I've started wearing my gloves and a jumper. Andy and I stood on the green wondering where to go. To be honest, this week I thought Jon would be going as we spoke on the phone and I was awaiting his familiar ring tone on the iphone, but it never came. Had it done so, we'd have probably 'done a short one' to Woodmansterne Green, a journey Andy and I are never that keen on because it's so suburban and, quite frankly, boring – until you reach the green, which is a pleasant enough sort of place and for me holds pleasant memories of chewing the fat with Jon in the cold weather leading up to the last Christmas. If you check back on this blog you'll notice that we, Andy and I, went there on Boxing Day.

Andy and I reached Tatsfield only to find two blokes drinking from cans of Stella – at 8 o'clock in the morning! Now, we've all done it, I know, but there comes a time when drinking strong lager for breakfast just isn't cricket and I found myself inwardly looking at them with disgust while thinking 'how could they do that?' Mind you, not that long ago I was in Munich, or just south of it, and I visited a fantastic hotel where the traditional breakfast is white sausage, sweet mustard and, wait for it, a huge, trumpet-shaped glass full of really decent German lager – fantastic! Did it 'set me up for the day'? Probably, but drinking a can of Stella, without the white sausage and the mustard while standing up in a pub car park – well, it doesn't have that ring to it.

The Pope – he's Catholic, you know!
We were in a jovial mood as Andy reminded me that he'd be going to Jamaica over Christmas – meaning that on Boxing Day I'd be cycling alone this year, freezing cold, no doubt, as Andy basks in the Caribbean heat. For some reason we got to talking about the Pope. Why, I don't know as neither of us are Catholic, but it revolved around that phrase, "Is the Pope Catholic?" It's used to emphasise the obvious. "Apples? Green? Is the Pope a Catholic?" "Karl Marx? Left wing? Is the Pope a Catholic?" And so on, but Andy suggested a scenario whereby he finds himself exclaiming, "Is the Pope a Catholic?" only to notice that his retort has been met with an awkward silence, prompting Andy to say, "He's behind me, isn't he?" Meaning the Pope. For some reason it became the theme of the morning chat.

We talked about IVF treatment and people who can't have kids and Andy says it shouldn't be available on the NHS – and nor should boob jobs, he added. I agreed with boob jobs, but I'm not sure about IVF, but its a debate that could run and run.

Tea drank, cereal bars eaten, conversation over there was nothing for it – we'd have to cycle home.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cycling over 16 and 17 October – an uneventful weekend...

Tatsfield won Double Gold in the 2010 Britain in Bloom competition.
A brief word on last weekend's cycling. Last Saturday, nothing, but on Sunday Andy and I went to Tatsfield Village where we drank some tea, had a chat and ended up back home. Not a good weekend for cycling, but hopefully we'll make up for it this weekend. Jon's back from his holiday (I think he went to Sorrento for a week) so we might be heading off for Hunger's End and a nice breakfast.

Generally speaking, the weather is getting colder. I've noticed the car has frost on the windscreen now, which is a sign of bad weather. Andy has stopped wearing his shorts and I think that this weekend I'll definitely be wearing my gloves.

It's also getting a bit dark in the mornings, although this weekend I think the clocks go back – another sign of winter! Dark mornings mean that Andy will start reminding me that I don't have a rear light. I need to get that sorted immediately – but then again, I've been saying that for the past four years.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Smithy, the no-nonsense racehorse – and me!

Yours truly (on the left!) with Smithy, the John Smith's No Nonsense racehorse.
This shot was taken at the stables of Ginger and Donald McCain, two extremely
good racehorse trainers. Ginger, who turned 80 recently, was the trainer behind
the great Red Rum. Suitable captions please! But come on, what a great-looking
horse – and I don't look too bad either!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Blue skies and sunshine – in October

Blue skies along Pilgrim's Lane on Sunday 10th October 2010
Just thought I'd throw in this shot taken around 10.30am on Sunday morning, October 10th, just to show how amazing the weather was last weekend.

Monday, 11 October 2010

To Hunger's End and Longford Lake...

In another shameful display of either sheer laziness or pure fatigue – although more likely a bit of both – I took the train home from Merstham after our cycle to Hunger's End where we enjoyed tea and toast and a read of The Sun.

Map shows Merstham High Street, home of Hunger's End
and, of course, Merstham Railway Station.
As promised by the weathermen, the weekend was good. Not sunny on Saturday (as predicted) but not raining and not cold. Andy is still wearing his shorts, put it that way, and I'm not yet reaching for the gloves, so the weather's been pretty mild and we've yet to get a soaking. In fact, as we discussed, we've managed to avoid a soaking since the beginning of the year. I say the beginning of the year, but it was probably something like April or May, I'll have to check the archive. I've checked and, believe it or not, it was August 1st on the way back from Westerham.

I wasn't really up for cycling to Merstham to be honest as I'd not slept well and had woken up around 0350hrs and then found it difficult to get back to sleep. The week prior, I'd managed to walk the best part of 30 miles (roughly six miles a day, five days a week) and that must have contributed to my general state of weariness, although the lack of sleep the night before the ride did it for me.

Shameful evidence! My bike spotted by the fitness police
outside of Merstham Station, Saturday 9 October 2010.
The ride was good and we decided to go 'the short way' by turning right on the A25 and not going across and down towards Church Town and the Enterdent.

After bidding farewell to Andy who, to be fair, had a shorter return ride than I would have had, I loitered around the music shop looking at the bass guitars before free-wheeling down to the station and buying a ticket to Purley, from where I cycled home.

At Purley, one of the minicab drivers outside the station stopped me to discuss my unusual saddle. He was refering, of course, to the Spongy Wonder. We chatted for a while and then off I went home to work out what to do with the rest of my weekend.

Off-road outside of Westerham, en route to Longford Lake.
The sun shows through the trees around 8am, Sunday 10 October.
Sunday saw us riding along Pilgrim's Lane towards Longford Lake in Chevening, Kent. A nice ride and I was feeling much more alive. We talked about this and that but our main topic of conversation, which we'd started in Merstham, was the EuroMillions British winner of the £110 million jackpot. What, we wondered, would we do with such a huge sum of money? We both agreed that we could offload around £30 million to friends and family, but that would still leave £80 million.

My plan would be to invest in property as I simply don't trust the banks anymore. I'd probably build a few housing estates for those who can't afford to buy their own house, holiday lets, that sort of thing; and I'd definitely travel around the UK visiting hospitals and finding out what they needed in the way of scanners and such like. I'd like to see whole hospital wings built using my money and possibly named The Moggridge Ward or whatever, some kind of lasting memento of my philanthropy.


Our big question as we returned home from the lake was how Camelot hand over the money. Do they place it electronically in the winner's bank account or hand them a cheque? How worrying it would all become in the sense of not being able to trust the banks. There is, of course, a £50,000 limit on monies refundable should the bank or banks go bust, meaning that you'd have a load of different bank and building society accounts. I reckon that you could put away a couple of million in that way, ie £50,000 in the Halifax, Lloyds, Nat West and so on, then, of course, you could whack away £30,000 in premium bonds, but remember we're dealing with something like £70 million after you've been generous with friends and family. Oh, and all that philanthropy would bring it down a bit too, but what a headache! I wonder if Camelot has it's own bank? The Bank of Camelot. That simply doesn't sound right. A bit like Toytown Bank when you were a kid and I know I wouldn't invest my hard-won cash in THAT bank!

My bike resting against a fence along Pilgrim's Lane.
I wonder if winners get offered a choice, ie would you like several cheques of £50,000 made payable to different banks and building societies? Yes, please!

Either way, it made no difference to Andy and I as we didn't win. I don't think Andy got any of the numbers and I only got number 35. In fact, the only reason I bought a Euromillions ticket (I bought two, one was a lucky dip) was because a man with no right hand in Belgravia made me a cup of tea and brought me one of the slips to fill in. I figured: man with one hand, this could be some strange soothsayer from another dimension offering me fame and fortune, so I filled it in and exchanged it for a ticket and then hoped for the best.

Andy on Pilgrims Lane, Sunday 10th October 2010.
But Andy and I cycled home, in the heat (Sunday was like a mid-summer's day) knowing we'd both be going to work on Monday and not having to worry about how we would keep track of hundreds of bank and building society accounts and fretting about how the banks might be trying to swindle us. In many ways, I think we were both glad we hadn't won the jackpot – but no, I think that's a load of old rubbish as we'd both love to have the headache of simply looking at bank statements once a month.

The lottery is like a religion, it provides false hopes to millions.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Hot weekend promised...let's make the most of it!!!

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
The weathermen are promising a hot weekend in the UK, so let's make the most of it!

Odd photograph of the week

Phil Tufnell in his pyjamas on Victoria Station

This is former England cricketer Phil 'Tuffers' Tufnell on Victoria Station last week. He's chatting by some kind of video link to Jodie Marsh, the former Sun Page Three Model who, no doubt, was somewhere equally public talking to Tuffers. There was somebody else in the conversation but his name escapes me. Either way, Tuffers was advertising some new form of three-way video telecoms system. A woman handing out Travelcard holders asked me if I had anything I'd like to ask Tuffers. My question would have been, "Why the fuck are you in your pyjamas talking to Jodie Marsh on Victoria Station in the rush hour?" Needless to say he'd have mentioned that he was getting paid a considerable sum of money for simply acting the fool. Nice work if you can get it.

Monday, 4 October 2010

To Hunger's End in Merstham...

Saturday October 2nd: Running late, by about five minutes, because I'd mislaid my keys, but I headed out towards to the top of Church Way and on to the B269 en route to Warlingham Green. Mist hung in the trees but the skies, while grey in places, let through the sun and I just knew there would be no rain. Not until later at any rate. The weather forecasters had been promising rain and later on in the day we got it, but for Andy and I it was a dry run.

We decided to go to Hunger's End, a place we'd neglected for some time. I called Jon and told him our plans but only via his voicemail. We never saw him.

Single from Merstham to Sanderstead, but I got off at Purley
Once again, I was feeling tired having been 'up north' the day before with the racehorse trainer Ginger McCain and his son Donald. No, I wasn't buying a racehorse, I was up there to write about Smithy, a racehorse owned by Heineken UK. Ginger and I sat in his living room watching Sky's coverage of the Ryder Cup. I say coverage of the Ryder Cup, it was mostly men mopping up rainwater and, of course, an eventual announcement that the tournament had ceased due to excessive rain.

The night before I'd stayed in the Cholmondeley Arms in Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley) and then I was given a lift to the stables by the proprietor. I had travelled from home to Whitchurch by train and had been ripped off by Virgin Trains, having to pay a ridiculous £108 for a single ticket. Anyway, having met the horse, interviewed Ginger's brother Donald and drank a cup of tea, I made my way back to Whitchurch (what a run-down place) and a train to Crewe and then London. The return journey only cost me £60.

So I was tired (again) or at least thinking about a shorter cycle, but by the time I was on the B269, my energy reserves returned and, on reaching the green Andy and I decided to go for Hunger's End. It was 0752, getting late, but we headed off through Woldingham and down Gangers Hill but decided not to cross the A25 – which would have meant The Enterdent. Instead, we travelled along the A25, shaving off a good 20 to 30 minutes. We'd have been late had we taken our usual route, but equally, I was relieved that we were avoiding The Enterdent as I wasn't in the mood.

Hunger's End had changed. It had been given a lick of paint and the proprietor told me she was getting rid of the sofas and installing a deli. Nice idea, but I like sofas in caffs. We ordered tea and toast, we read The Sun and we spoke to the lively aunt of the proprietor who was over from Egham in Surrey as it was her 73rd birthday. The proprietor's aunt was a keen cyclist, which is probably why she was so sprightly. She's a member of the CTC, the UK's national cycling organisation (click here for more details).

After one cup of tea and a couple of slices of toast, we decided to have one more. We read The Sun, commented on the two page-three girls and that was it. Except that I was not feeling like cycling home up Markedge Lane towards Chipstead. I know, it's terrible and I did feel pangs of defeat in my decision to get the train. In fact, as the train made its way north towards it's ultimate destination, London Bridge, I resolved to get off at Purley and cycle home from there.

What was really annoying about Sunday October 3rd was our decision not to go cycling because of the expected rain. Admittedly, both Andy and I had a late night on Saturday, so going cycling wasn't really on the agenda, but when I looked out of the window at 7am, the weather was fine; it wasn't until much later that the rain started.

Early nights, then, are the order of the week and then, if there's no rain next week, we'll have a good cycle.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Tatsfield bus stop – twice!

The Tatsfield Bus Stop, September 25th 2010.
Having over-indulged on the ale on Friday night, it was touch and go as to whether I'd go cycling on Saturday morning. I woke up feeling fine (several pints, yes, but it was only 3.8 per cent abv) but there was a kind of weariness that led me to hang around and not go for an early morning jaunt. I called Jon but he was going to see Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion and couldn't make it. Alas, it was down to me to motivate myself. I'd figured on a shortish ride to Woodmansterne Green, but now it was looking like Botley Hill, but not yet, not so early.

Blue skies at the bus stop on Saturday (above) but cloud and drizzle on Sunday.
Eventually, I left the house around a quarter to nine and headed off with a mild headache, nothing the fresh air couldn't deal with; the sun was shining and while there was definitely an end of September bite to the air – and I considered gloves and a scarf, but made do with a V-necked jumper – the weather, generally was fine. It was only a little chilly cycling down hill or in the shade. In fact, once I was out and beyond that bus stop on the A269 that signifies the end of the first hilly part of the route, I was feeling fine. So fine, in fact, that I realised, foolishly perhaps, that I was in one of those moods that meant I could cycle for ever and a day. In fact, had I not been constrained by the mundanity of domesticity, I'd have probably just carried on, through Westerham, further east and God knows where I'd have ended up.

As NoVisibleLycra celebrates its first anniversary, the sign that
characterises the website is uprooted. This shot taken on Saturday 25th
September.
I planned to cycle into Tatsfield Village but on reaching the famous bus stop, I spotted the road sign that features on the home page of this blog (just look up to the top of the page and you'll see it). It had been uprooted and was lying on its side on the grass. Was it hit by a lorry or a car or had somebody deliberately uprooted it? I would never know.

I sat and drank tea alone at the bus stop, flicking my teabags on to the grass in front of the bus stop in training for a game with Andy on Sunday (we always see who can flick their teabags the furthest).

I headed back home via Beddlestead Lane and Hesiers Hill, emerging at Warlingham Sainsbury's and then heading home for a morning of cleaning out the garage.

Cycling up Hesiers Hill, I began to wish I'd gone home the 'fast way', but, like all hills, it was a matter of getting my head down and getting on with it. Soon I was home, reading the Guardian and getting ready to tidy up the garage.

Sunday (today) Andy and I went to the Tatsfield Bus Stop. Why? Well, we were going to head into the village but it started to rain and we narrowly avoided a soaking, taking refuge at the bus stop where we drank tea, chatted about opening our own cycle shop and talked about this and that, although we didn't discuss Ed Miliband being appointed the new leader of the Labour Party or the Iranian president, Mr 'I'm a Dinner Jacket' having a go at the UN and blaming 9/11 on the Americans.

We cycled home the fast way, said goodbye at Warlingham Green and here I am, home and dry – we managed to avoid the rain and now it's looking a little brighter outside. I've got to make roast potatoes and cocktail sausages and I'd better get started!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Tired

I would be foolish to say that walking a total of 20 miles, wearing a fairly heavy back pack (carrying a lap top and other stuff) was not behind the general feeling of tiredness that hit me square in the face on Friday evening. I'd been doing about five miles a day, since Tuesday, and then, on Saturday, I was up and out of the house early for a cycle. To be honest, I wasn't feeling up to it and was tempted, not to abort the ride, but to say something naff like, "Let's just go to the bus stop."

Andy contemplates life in the Old Forge Deli Café on Godstone Green
Instead, we cycled to Godstone where we paid a visit to the Old Forge Deli Café and, I think, got ripped off. If a cup of tea is 80p and a slice of toast 50p, then my bill for a cup of tea and two slices of toast should have been £1.80. Why, then, was I charged £2.30? In true British style, of course, I said nothing, but that was because I hadn't actually worked out the prices; I just knew that I had £2.50 in my pocket and that my order, surely, wouldn't cost the lot. It didn't: I got 20p change.

I then emptied my flask of water on Godstone Green and Andy and I cycled back home, dreading the hill that awaited us on the other side of the A25. It wasn't too bad, though.

Sunday just didn't happen. Andy wasn't going anyway, meaning that it was down to my own motivation to get up and go; but I couldn't muster up the energy. I got out of bed, I had a mug of tea around 7am and I reluctantly put on my cycling gear in readiness to head outside. Instead, though, I paced around, wondering whether to go or not. I considered ringing Jon, but thought I'd leave it, hoping that he'd call me – but he didn't; he was thinking the same way as I was and, besides, he'd been out already, on a three-mile run, in early training for the April 2011 Marathon. I was reminded of that great quote from "uncle" John, the neighbour next door but one back at mum and dad's. He used to say, "Animals only run if they have to." Never a truer word and all that! Still, each to their own. I just can't get on with running.

The Kona Scrap resting against a tree on Godstone Green
Anyway, that was it, I didn't go cycling on Sunday despite pacing the house, taking my shoes on and off – at one stage having one on and one off – and, well, it's just not good is it? On one side I wanted to go and hated that whole thing about not getting out in the air; but on the other side, I was whacked out and couldn't face it. In the end, general fatigue won the day and I lolled around all morning, inwardly pissed off for not getting my act together, but, in a way, my body was relieved that I hadn't set foot in the garage.

I'd love to go out there now and discover a puncture. That way I could say to myself, "Oh, well, I wouldn't have been able to go anyway!"