Posts in Category: other stuff

The rear of abingdon’s old police station


Today is the day I don’t turn 40

It’s my birthday today, and as I’d spent most of last week thinking I was going to be 40 today I thought I’d write a poem to tell everyone in the office I’d bought some cakes in.

Today is the day I don’t turn 40,
the knackers yard is calling,
but i’m turning my deaf ears,
and trying hard at stalling.

Today is the day I don’t turn 40,
the summit of the hill of slowly approaching,
I would get there sooner,
but my knees keep on groaning

Today is the day I don’t turn 40,
My eyes are fine, working just as they oughta,
it’s the writing, y’know,
that’s getting so smaller

Today is the day I don’t turn 40,
tho’ my mind is still strong,
the flesh is much weaker,
gone are the days where I’d make a good streaker

Today is the day I don’t turn 40
I’m still young enough to be a bit naughty
so while I’m still able,
there’s some cakes on the table


I went out for a ride on New Years Day. it was jolly good fun except 10 minutes ride away from the car park, bugger knows what sort of plant life I rode over but I ended up with a puncture.

It was a slow-ish puncture and I did initially hope to just put a bit of air back into my rear tye and pedal quickly to the car and fix it at home. So I stopped and got my pump out and after a couple of goes on the pump I realised that I would have to change to inner tube. A couple of minutes later with the wheel back in place I turn the bike the right way up and notice the front tyre is now flat. Gah!

So as you can see from the picture, two out of three tubes have a few patches now and on of them and err, well yes. Time for some new tubes. The left tube is my spare tube and will be going back in my bag.


I went to Halfords and spotted these dangling Slime Smart Tubes dangling from the rack.


They have ‘stuff’ in them that plugs holes upto 3mm, apparently. They don’t look any different, as you might guess, and uninflated you can squish the goo about inside them. They’re noticably heavier than regular inner tubes, but it’s not going to make any difference to me. It may to you, but my bike isn’t a light weight carbon flashy ride. At nine quid each, I thought I would give them a go as they seem a bit of a half-way house between tubed and tubeless and prevent me from having to stop in the mud so often.

But there again, I might just have thrown £18 away. We shall see.

Keep on pedalling

I’ve been out cycling a couple of times this week. I tend to go in fits and starts, especially in the winter. Sometimes every weekend for a month and then nothing for a couple of months.

On Sunday us and the neighbours went for a family ride around Culham and the back of JET It’s a nice 3.5 mile, mainly hard standing, with a little bit round the edge of a field at the start and end. If you go anti-clockwise there is a short, fairly sharp incline that smaller kids may need a hand with, and quite a long downhill section after that. The rest, though is flat and ideal for younger cyclists that can ride but need to build up their confidence.

As it’s a couple of miles from our houses, the wives and kids travelled by cars to Culham and us two ‘men’ pedalled our way there.

On the way back though, we thought, instead of going straight down the A415 into Abingdon and out the other side and home, we detoured down Tolgate Road and across the bridges over the river, to see what the state of the river was. The Thames had burst it’s banks recently and, well it looked like the Mississippi, it was that wide.

After ogling the swollen Thames (ooh er, missus) we carried on into Sutton Courtenay and out toward Drayton.

There’s a shortcut to our side of Abingdon from Sutton called Peep O’ Day Lane. It’s a paved byeway (or whatever), part of a cycle route to Oxford from somewhere. We turned in to it and came to a stop.

Flooded Peep O' Day Lane

Do we? Don’t we? How deep will it get? We reckoned it would get about a foot deep, which wouldn’t be a problem. The bit I was worried about was dropping off the side, as either side of the path is a drop of about 2 foot, more in some places, along with obligatory decrepit barbed wire fencing.

We went for it. We hit the water and within a couple of turns of the pedals, the water was 2 foot deep, sloshing over the forks, a steady ‘slap-slap’ noise as our pedals plunged in and out of the, frankly, bloody cold water. 300 metres later, we come out the other side, quite pleased with ourselves.

This may not sound like much of an achievement, but I didn’t realise how much resistance 2′ of water would have and it is quite unnerving not to be able to see where the road is. There may have been trees and a few bushes either side, but they are the other side of the path but they are not right at the side, as I said there is a drop immediately either side of the path, and they greenery is closer to the path is some places than others, of dropping into 4 or 5 foot of water was a very real possibility.

Quote of the day: “We’re on mountain bikes. Mountain bikes don’t go round stuff.”

The second time has been New Years Day. My brother-in-law and I went to Cheively, near Newbury and pedalled our way round 17 miles of mud.

Sometimes slippery, sometimes sticky, pretty much always deep.


Careering down the side of a bloody great hill and break neck speeds or carefully picking your way down a rocky outcrop is good fun, and challenging. So too is plugging away through three, four, five inches of mud. Travelling at crawling speed because because your back wheel spins every time you push down on the pedals, both wheels sliding sideways unexpectedly, whilst trying to keep your balance.

It’s a good job I enjoy the mud plugging cross-country as well as the big hill stuff. In this part of the country there aren’t that many big hills.

Quote of the day: “There’s nothing like a mudbath to get rid of a new years day hangover, except bacon of course.”

Sharing the road

Ratgeek Aaron

When you buzz a cyclist, you risk ripping the heart out of a family. Denying a little girl her daddy, or stealing a son or daughter from a loving parent. Is it worth it?

Is sharing the road really that much of an inconvenience?

It’s because of this animosity that cyclists are so uppity. Cyclists don’t want to be at war with motorists. We just want to ride without the BS and grief that’s handed out to us daily.

There are of course douchebag cyclists. But there are also many many douchebag motorists that treat every interaction on the road as some sort of contest. For every cyclist you saw jump a light, think about all the drivers who cut you up at a junction, or rear up behind you on the outside lane when you’re overtaking a lorry at 70mph — aggressively looking to push you out of the way, or pressuring you to match their law-breaking speed. People are dicks… it’s not a matter of dick-cyclists or dick-drivers.

Exactly. Although I’m probably the dick gesticulating behind my steering wheel in your mirror to get out the fucking way, I am also a cyclist. I don’t ride much on the road at the moment but it does fuck me off that the standard response by car drivers to cyclists is…

As you can tell, this example is generally a bit of a wanker, but that is pretty much the standard response. Cyclist goes to fast: kick the fucker off. Car driver goes too quick: a tut-tut at the most. How many times do you hear *anyone*, never mind cyclists, threaten to smack the fuck out of the next driver they see speeding? Not the next driver that cuts them up, just the next driver they see going a little too fast?

Yeah. None.

What exact privileges do you think being a driver gives you?

You sat a couple of short tests that “prove” that you have some basic control of a vehicle and a passing familiarity with the highway code. Then you’re allowed to operate a tonne of steal at speeds where if you hit another human being, he or she is near vaporised. Bicycle on pedestrian fatalities are rare. Bicycle on driver fatalities are near impossible.

So after sitting a ridiculously easy driving test, do you really expect a cyclist to sit a similar test? Tell you what… I will happily support compulsory cycling proficiency testing, if drivers are subject to the sort of testing that weeds out bad drivers, and ensures only the most “proficient” drivers are allowed to use the roads.

Let’s be generous and say that the driving exams are only once every 3-years. I mean, you’re operating a potential killing machine… we need to be super careful, no? We all want safe and efficient roads, yes?


Can I go one step further, and drivers have to spend a year or two on two wheels, both types, pedal and engine, before being allowed into something with four wheels. That might give car drivers a view on exactly how scary it is when a car driver traps your front wheel between their back wheel and the kerb.

Maybe then, the road might be shared a little more fairly.

The natural world: it’s awesome, dude


Flying. I love flying. I don’t know what it is about it, but it’s great.

The best bits are punctuated with a long boring bit – the bit in the middle.

The acceleration of the aeroplane as it sets of down the runway pushing you into you seat. A fast car might do Tue same, but on todays roads rarely for as long.

Once the aeroplane reaches takeoff speed, not only do you pushed back into your seat, you’re also pushed down into it, resulting in the funny feeling as your guts try and catch up with the rest of your body rising into the air.

After that its the ten or twenty minutes looking out of the window as the clouds get closer and the further away as you pass straight through them on what feels like your way to the stars.

Gazing out of the little porthole of the tin tube you’re carried in, staring, slack-jawed the curvature of the earth, seeing with your own eyes what science proved ages before man took to the air.


After that though, there’s the shit boring, 37,000 ft high bus ride, with the landing basically being the reverse of take-off. Although of course, if you’re lucky, you can take bets on whether or not the plane will stop before the end of the runway.

The best flight I have ever taken, I can’t remember where it was to but I never forget what I saw. Take-off was a couple of hours before dawn, so we’d been in the air a few hours, in to the shit boring bus ride part and obviously I’d been drinking gently when I glanced out of one window, which was pitch black, then out of my window to see a rainbow. Not just any rainbow as we were at about thirtyseven thousand feet. This rainbow started at the ground (and now I think about it I can’t even think what colour the rainbow started with, just that it was amazing) and finished in the sky. Each band of colour spanning from one side of the horizon to the other. It was as if a regular rainbow had been flattened out and laid on the horizon.

I may not have explained it very well, and the little bit of booze I had drank could’ve added to my awe at such a sight but, fuck me, get yourself in the right place at the right time is nature is fucking amazing.


Well. It’s been a while, eh? In fact it’s been so long I thought I’d have to reset my password to login, but fortunately my browser remembered it.

Anyway, how you been? Me? Busy. Somehow. Blogging here, and my other place which is usually the busier of the two sites, has taken a bit of a back seat over the last couple of months for some reasons I won’t go into here and other reasons I could but would bore you silly, if you’re not already.

I think the main reason I haven’t posted here for a while is because whenever I go out with a camera my daughter seems to be with me and she has commandeered my Canon DSLR which has left me to get on with things with my Nikon film camera. I don’t mind, my lass is developing a hobby and I’m getting practice with a slightly different camera. I could scan the results and post them, but frankly, I need a lot more practice with it. It took a while to stop chimping at the screen that isn’t there and other photographers go on about the suspense and excitement that comes with being made to wait before they see their photos after a trip to the processors. I don’t. I hate it.

It’s not so much having the screen on the back of a DSLR, it’s more being able to get home and look at what I’ve shot that day or evening and edit them, if needed. I don’t normally take 30-odd photos when I go out, with an SLR, even if I did fill up a roll in one outing, it can be days before I get the photos back. I don’t have room for a darkroom in my house either.

My lass on the other hand seems to have taken to photography like a natural. I think i’m gonna have to get her her own camera so I can have mine back.

Anyway, as this is primarily a photoblog, and the front page has a horrible X on it if I don’t put a picture in the post here’s a photo, taken by my brother-in-law, of me doing the Marin Trail…

on the Marin Trail



… I think I need to take less photos of sunrises and sunsets but then I see stuff like this.

(Taken on my HTC)

Well, I didn’t expect that to happen

I was just buggering about in Lightroom with a photo I’d taken of a page of a book. I whacked up the Fill Light to max and the in-focus text went, well, like this (this screengrab has about 3/4 full Recovery too)…

I don’t know why it did it, but it’s an interesting effect, especially as it only changed the text that was focused.

I shall have to play some more…

Star Wars sandwich


I had a creative burst while making sandwiches for school/work tomorrow. My lad is a huge Star Wars fan, I just hope he recognises what it’s meant to be.


The colours are a bit off as I only had a red, blue, green, and yellow food colouring pens. The yellow doesn’t really show up that well*.


*at all.