Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Gym'll Fix It!

A year of working too much, not riding, injuries, eating poorly, drinking lots, DIY excuses and, well, if I'm honest, a smidgen of laziness, have resulted in my weight creeping up. I'm now a full 1 stone/14lbs/6.3kg (you have to be multilingual sometimes when writing blogs!) heavier than I was last November.

Now I'm not weight obsessed or anything and I've never been what you'd call svelte, but 14lbs is a lot in a year, and more importantly, I'm starting to feel it when I exercise. That's when I know something has to be done.

So thanks to the inclement weather, resulting in my only two rides of the latter half of the year being cut short, and there seemingly being no end to the current cold snap, I've joined a gym.

It's a Virgin Active gym near work and part of their cunning motivational strategy is the extortionate monthly membership fee they charge - you have to go every other day to get your money's worth. But so far it has been worth it. In six weeks I've been 8 times (not quite financially worth it but it's a good start), I've got a training programme, I've been to a couple of classes and I've been swimming for the first time in about 4 years. And the best part about all of this is I'm actually still enjoying going to the gym! Now there's something I thought I'd never say...

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Merry Christmas?

I'm not so sure this year. It just hasn't felt like Christmas at all, despite the endless snow. It's the first year in a long time I haven't spent two weeks working solidly over Christmas - I was on night shift instead for three days. Coupled with the lack of decorations in my house due to the ongoing, er, decorating, there was a distinct lack of festive spirit.

I won't expatiate on Christmas day, it involved driving home from work in the morning, opening a couple of presents, sanding the bedroom doors, sleeping through the day and going to work again in the evening.

Boxing Day started off a little more exciting with the good intentions of going for a ride. It was a daring plan considering the still hazardous icy conditions on the roads. It's possibly my shortest ride ever and was brought to an abrupt halt at the end of my street with a loud "thunk". At least I think it was a thunk; it's that noise you and your bike make as you go from upright to horizontal in the space of a nanosecond, that strange clinking/thud sound, a "thunk". So it was back to the house for more DIY.

No work tonight so I hit the DIY hard all day. Well, at least until I set the carpet on fire with the paint stripper; I read somewhere once that in terms of driving and performing manual tasks, being awake for 24 hours has the same affect on thought processes and reaction times as being twice over the legal drink/drive limit. I can with some authority now say that that is indeed true. I put the tools away.

Glass of wine and a very early night for me...

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Winter Wonderlands

So I've been away for a while for various dull reasons that I won't go into. I haven't been riding my bike that's for sure. Not until the other day anyway, the snow seems to draw me out from my cosy little hideaway. Maybe because it's not quite so cosy at the moment due to the lack of central heating, large gaps around the new windows and bare walls. Oh well, at least it's not cold, eh...
Snowy houses

We've had loads of snow down here and I only just managed to get home after my night shift on Friday morning. It was my last day at work until tonight so I was desperate to get home no matter what the weather was. Unlike the last time it snowed heavily in London and I decided to take full advantage of ITV's hospitality...

Back in February, whilst still working in central London I'd driven home on the Sunday night through treacherous conditions and was due back in Monday morning. I left extra early, around 5am and started off down the M1 which was down to one lane. Luckily there was very little traffic, apart from the abandoned cars on the side of the road. Central London was even worse and I had a very surreal moment driving into the middle of a city, in a snow storm, passing a pair of giraffes!

Taking full advantage of the lack of traffic and the virgin snow in Regent's Park I attempted to write my name across the road using only my car. I was never very good at etch-a-sketch and failed miserably at the bottom of the 'R'. The rest of the trip was like a scene out of a disaster movie with cars (mainly BMW's) strewn around the deserted streets having had their journeys rudely interrupted by various lampposts, railings, buildings and other cars.
Snowy London South Bank, Feb 2009

Conditions didn't improve throughout the day and I still had to be at work the following day. Chancing a third and then fourth journey in this weather, remembering the 17 accidents I'd passed on the previous two trips and having a vivid memory of ending up sideways between a set of traffic lights and sliding out into the middle of the cross-roads earlier in the day, just seemed to be pushing my luck a little. So as was the tradition back in the good old days of TV, the company stumped up for some hotel rooms - the last great perk of ITV.

So a snowy ride/slide/snow diving session, some mulled wine and a warm mince pie were the order of the day on Sunday and it was starting to feel like Christmas. (Plus a quick stop to build Bob the Snowman). All I have to do now is negotiate the black ice to get to work this evening and for the first time in many years I will be spending Christmas day at home.
Surly and the Snowman