Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yay. It's my birthday today. Another year older. Though somehow I feel like I've aged more than a year this year. Why? Because of this:
This was one of my birthday presents, and no, it wasn't just one of those presents a random relative buys you because they don't really see you that often and have no idea what you like or what you want so get you something they feel you should have - I actually asked for this!

At some point earlier this year I think I might have grown up - I bought a house, I started DIY, I set myself a budget, I had a training regime, I prepared for races, I even gave up drinking for a while, and I started gardening. I actually became rather sensible. (I only went on four holidays! How sensible is that?!)

But no more! If 2007 was a year of sensibleness, 2008 is going to be a year of immaturity; bring on the spontaneous trips across the country for coffee, bring on the stupid bike rides where we barely escape with our lives, bring on the all night drinking sessions. Being grown up is too dull and boring for me - even if it is cheap. There's so much to do before I'm 30 and I can't do it on a budget...

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Christmas Indulgence

I love Christmas. I don't know why. I just do. And I find everything quite magical around Christmas - the decorations, the lights, the carol services, the markets, the atmosphere, everything is just brilliant at Christmas.

And this weekend is always particularly good. For the last couple of years I've been away for a Christmas/Birthday treat weekend with my Mum. We've been to Brussels/Bruge, Copenhagen and this year we decided to stay in good old London town (because I'm skint from doing up my house). The weekends involve cramming in some culture in stunning cities of Europe; Cathedrals, museums, old buildings and the like, but basically revolves around the sumptuous Christmas Markets! Mulled wine, mince pies, cakes, gaufres, chocolat, gluhwein, glog, cookies, biscuits, venison sausage, kase, vin chaud - if it's sweet, yummy or alcoholic, we'll try it. If it's sweet, yummy AND alcoholic, we'll take a box of it! It's a weekend of pure indulgence. When it doesn't matter what you eat or drink, or indeed how much it costs, as long as it's good and it's Christmasy.

So I'll just pop into the kitchen and warm up some more homemade mulled wine on the stove, heat up a brandy laced mince pie and pour over the Cognac cream. Best open that next box of liquer chocolates as well, the night is young. I love Christmas.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007


Totally ran out of time today, I really don't know where the day went. It was dark before I knew what was happening! Still, with the urge to ride still strong, I popped down to the shed and dragged my surly Cross-Check up to the 3rd floor, stepped over the various power tools blocking the spare room doorway, pushed paint tins, planks and architrave to the edges of the room, and set up the turbo trainer on the nail infested floor boards.

iPod now recharged, I settled into a good steady hour of leg spinning. Legs felt fine, but I had that 'bruised backside' feeling again. You know, for all the years I've been riding, if I take a few weeks off I always get this after my first ride. You'd have thought I (or rather my backside) would be use to this by now, but no, I can guarantee it every time.

Feeling good though and looking forward to my next ride. Bring it on!

Monday, 10 December 2007

And the Lord said:

"Let them ride bikes. For this time of year is a time of celebration and happiness." And so it was that on the 63rd day of my illness, I did rise from the sofa and did take out my trusty Surly steed to help banish the evil virus from my body. And low, though I did ride through the alley of the thorns, I feared no punctures. And I did ride over the hills, and across the downs and through the fruitful forest. And when I had travelled many lonely miles and my spirit hath lifted and mine iPod run out; I turned homeward. And the sun set on a beautiful day and the world was good.

And whence I returned from my pilgrimage I did drink tea and eat cake - for every Englishman knows in his heart that these are truly the body and the blood of Christ - and the world was good.

And so, with a smile on my face and a spring in my step (despite aching legs), with the feeling of the wind blowing through my helmet so real I could almost be out there still, I can finally write about riding my bike again: a ride I will never forget. The bright orange sunset flickering through the trees as I approached Ivinghoe Beacon, (must remember camera) then as the terrain changed slightly I lost site of it, the flat Buckinghamshire countryside stretched out beyond the horizon shrouded under it's dusky orange veil, until I turned west directly into the sun down to Ivinghoe and it was so bright and low I could hardly see the road in front of me! This is why I ride bikes.

And life IS good!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Brain Melt Day

I had one of those days yesterday, you know, where everything is just that little bit more difficult and you can never quite remember what you were supposed to be doing. I think it's because I was distracted with the idea of going back to work.

It started with the post. I had a couple of letters to send. Now, I may or may not have put a stamp on one of the envelopes, but that may not matter because I may or may not have included the cheque in one of them, and I may or may not have signed that cheque anyway. I'm not sure, I got distracted.

Then I started to tidy up. Half way through tidying up I noticed the sun glaring through the smudged hand prints on the window. I put down the polish and duster - which are as yet to be rediscovered - and got out the white vinegar and newspaper to clean the windows. I subsequently misplaced the top to the vinegar bottle which is now making my whole house stink! Yes, it is that potent.

I gave up trying to do anything soon after this and sat down with a coffee and a creme egg. But who cares, it's CHRISTMAS!!