Sunday, 27 January 2008

An air of excitement.

Haven't been on my bike now, since Thursday evening, on my trip home from work, and have been missing it, feeling guilty also, at not keeping those miles clocking up. The weather has been great, dry, slightly breezy, with bursts of bright sunshine, more fool me eh?

Today I've done very little, in the way of anything, staying in bed till 08.45, extremely late for me, I should have got up, and gone for a ride, but instead I slumbered fitfully, until I finally got up. Had a wash etc., a cup of coffee, and a bowl of cereal and milk, then it was time to take Elizabeth to mass, came home, put the washing out, as ordered, did the " Great Garden Bird Watch ", a survey of birds, for 3/4 of an hour, returning for Elizabeth, and home again by 12.30.

We went on to Swansea marina, spending 40 minutes or so, walking along the promenade, it was lovely and warm in the sun, but we could feel the chill in the air, when the sun hid behind the clouds, of which, there were too many. The walk made us hungry, so we popped into Sainsbury's for a cup of tea and a sandwich, which was tasty and much needed.

Driving to and back from Swansea, I saw a good number of cyclists, out riding. Mostly on road bikes, with helmets, tights, vests etc., not my style. But then, what is my style? I ride alone, and I suppose I'm a commuter, pure and simple, shunning company, when I ride, in fact, I am quite dismayed when I see other cyclists going the same way as me. That makes me sound strange, which, very probably, I am, but that's me. Everyone who sees me on my bike, will recognise that fact by the gear I wear, if I am being kind to myself, it could be described as, unconventional, unco-ordinated it most certainly is, the stylish brigade would not want to be seen with me in their group, sorry peleton.

We, Elizabeth and I, have just had our evening meal, perhaps not just, because I watched the Barcelona game, on the TV, they could only manage a 1-1 draw, against Athletico Bilbao, but it was a great game to watch. Anyway, I'm back at the computer now, with a cup of tea.

Getting back to my theme, for this evening, there's an air of excitement about me, because I'll be back riding my commute, in the morning. I've packed my stuff, I need for work, in my double plastic bags, which I carry on my handlebars, and Elizabeth has made my sandwiches, which I ravenously devour, after my arrival and quick wash at work. A few hours after that I'll be just as hungry again. Cycling makes me so hungry, it's untrue, if I could cut down on my intake, I'd lose weight, very quickly, but it's a willpower problem, and as nowadays, I feel so great, more energetic etc., I don't see the need.

Despite the fact, that my cycling exploits, seem so tame when compared with the blogs I read, such as " mnbicyclecommuter ", " up in alaska ", and " fat cyclist ", I still feel very proud of what I do. I've read all three, of those blogs today, enjoyed every bit of them, as well. As time goes on, maybe I'll become a better cyclist, as well as a better blogger, you never know.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Still not recording blog or miles.

It's Friday evening, and a day off work for me, in fact I don't go back to work until Monday, so I have the rest of the weekend to look foreward to. Wanted to do quite a bit today, but it kind of fizzled away, didn't achieve anything. Elizabeth has a very bad cough and cold, and like it seems, all my days off work, these days, I didn't go out on my bike. The weather was very passable, dry but strong cold wind, from the north west, of about 25 mph. I think I would have enjoyed it, but I feel guilty, about disappearing for a couple hours, alone on my bike, it doesn't feel fair to Elizabeth.

All I seem to do, is hang around like a nuisance, while Elizabeth, is so organised, always finding things that need to be done in the house, and doing them. Me I'm a dreamer, schemer, who likes to plan and prepare, before I do things. Trouble is, I make lists, buy the items required, then never quite get round to doing what I plan to do. A bit like this blog of mine, which I have failed to keep going, on a regular basis, which, I also note, no one is bothering to tap into, snaps would help, I suppose, but getting the stuff transferred from my mobile phone camera, is beyond me, at present, I've got the software somewhere, and the requisite lead, someday eh? Well for the moment I can't find them.

Keiron jnr is back staying with us, and the computer I'm typing on, now, is housed in his room, so making access, to it, a little problematic. Elizabeth and I have discussed this, and we've decided to move the computer into our room, in fact, I ordered a simple and cheap workstation/desk, from Argos, today, it will be delivered on Monday. Then comes the really hard part, putting it together, by following the manufacturer's instructions, something I'm not very good at, with not a lot of patience. It appears, these days, the only time I have patience, and am in a relaxed mood, is when I'm out on "that bicycle", as Elizabeth would say. Which I feel really guilty about.

I have said it before in this blog, I really don't know, how all you very good bicycle/commuting bloggers, out there, manage. If not work, then all sorts of other things, get in the way of my cycling. Take tomorrow, Tierloch, my youngest son, 28 this year, who still resides at home, has no lift to work, so I'm taking him at 05.30, in the morning, then I have to go back for him at 11.00. I'm hoping that I will be able to pop off on my bike for a couple of hours, in between, but I'm afraid, I'll get a puncture, which will ruin the rest of the day, Elizabeth needs to go shopping, after Tierloch gets home, and he also wants to tag along, he needs to buy some clothes, for a stag weekend, he's going on with Conor, in the last week of February. They're going to Benidorm, lucky boys.

They're not the only ones looking foreward to a holiday break, however, because I booked for Elizabeth and I, to go to Brighton 12th-15th February, just a couple of nights away, and a change. Of course, I want to take my bike, which reminds me, I haven't as yet, checked with the hotel, if there is somewhere, I can keep the bike, there? The year before last, in October, we went to Malta, for a week, I was able to hire a bike, and early each morning, I would take it for a spin along the seafront, there was beautiful promenade, which stretched for miles, where we stayed, in the town of ......, just like me, I can't remember it's name now.

Well I enjoyed it alot, and was able to get it all done, before Elizabeth got up, each day, so we were able to share, the rest of the day, together. Ideally, I'd do that everyday, but other things get in the way.

Currently, I'm almost paranoid with the fear of getting a puncture. I'm more than pleased with my new Top Continental safety system tyres, even with a considerable amount of tread, compared with the original slick road tyres, I had on my Subway 8, when I bought it, there is no discernible difference in rolling resistance. But the glass strewn on my routes seems to get worse all the time, or do I look for it more. The stupid thing is, I feel safer on the roads, in traffic, than I do on the cycle paths, simply because of all the glass, which appears to be smashed, on purpose, as almost an ambush, for us cyclists.

Having said that about, feeling safer, on the roads and in traffic, I'm sad to say I've had a couple of run ins with motorists of late. When I cycle home, after my day shift, it's dark and the roads are busy, the problem I've had is car drivers, just don't see me! It's like that advert, for driving safety, "THINK BIKE", they aren't looking for a cyclist, so don't see one, in these last couple of instances, it was me they didn't see. Not where you'd expect either, twice now, on a well lit roundabout, me in my bright yellow high viz jacket, with my Cateye headlight, and he makes to cross right in front of me. The first time, I lost my temper, the guy explained he hadn't seen me, and couldn't understand why, when I remonstrated about how obvious my jacket was, I felt a little guilty after, because he was genuinely sorry, I think. The second time,the original experience helped me, I was able to see, this driver just hadn't seen me, and I was already taking avoiding action, when he stopped at the last moment, he also apologised, and waved me on, and I merely nodded my acknowledgment.

That's it for today. I hope there aren't many typos in this, because I'm just going to press the publish button.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Saturday night.

Well here I am, I've been at my computer desk for the past couple of hours, apart from a break for our evening meal, Elizabeth made us a traditional Irish fry-up, consisting of chips, egg, bacon, beans, and potatoe bread, all I can say is yummie, it was very tasty. Tierloch was here, and little Jack and by the clean plates, they also heartily enjoyed.

But I digress, I've been tootling around on the old PC here, reading various bicycle websites, saving some to my bookmarks, for future reference, realising that there are so many, that in truth, I'll never be able to keep up date, with the vast majority of them. It's mind boggling just how much information is out there, at one's fingertips, in cyberspace, and the potential we all have, of reaching, and actually communicating with so many human beings all around this planet of ours.

My intention was, at first to cheat i.e., by using this blog, as a way of writing a letter, long overdue, that I owe my cousin Maureen, and her husband Ray. My shambolic attempt necessitated printing off my latest post, writing a brief note, to explain, and job done. This clever ruse, of course, backfired, and the printer produced, not one but all my posts, fortunately only 9 pages, because I've only been typing my attempts at blogging for a short while, as yet, and only intermittantly. I hope Maureen, you and Ray, will have the patience to read it all, at least it could prove useful as an aid to bring about slumber, on those nights, when it's hard to drop off.

So I've confessed, and I'm sorry, but now you're going to have to read it all, though it might take some time, between waking and dropping off times. Not that I didn't want to write, it's just I've been feeling a bit lazy of late. Since Christmas, I've really been trying to stick at my part commute to and from work, as you'll it's quite time consuming, and makes it all a long day, I don't mind that in the least, but it puts time at a premium. Today I'm off work, I only seem to ride my bike, nowadays, on my commute to work. When Im home like this, I have so much else to do, and must do.

Elizabeth doesn't drive, so we have to do the shopping etc., though I do very little, in the way household chores,partly, I suppose, because Elizabeth has it all so well in hand, and I am somewhat lazy in that department. We've had a busy day today, sadly, it started just after 04.00 a.m., when we received a phonecall, from Jimmy Peoples, who lives just around the corner from us. His wife, Edwina had fallen out of bed, both of them are in their late 70's, and Jimmy couldn't lift her, so it was a cry for help, which we were more than happy to answer.

We got dressed, walked round the corner, probably 200 yards, at most, in the pouring rain, which doesn't seem to have stopped for several days now, and managed to get Edwina back into bed. Obviously, she was rather upset, but Elizabeth is very good in such situations, and was able to calm her down, while I hid at the top of the stairs. Then it was a quick walk home, just in time, for for the 05.00 a.m., alarm to go off, signifying, it was time for Tierloch to get up for work, once he'd gone, and to be fair, normally I wouldn't have heard him, I just couldn't get back to sleep, you must remember, at that stage, I hadn't printed off my,soon to be famous, insomnia remedy, "welshcyclist" blog.

Perhaps, at this stage,I need to explain what a blog is. Well I'm not an expert, by any means, but I believe, put simply, a blog is a diary or collection of thoughts, that one types on the computer, and publishes on the internet, for all and sundry, in every corner of the world to read, laugh at, deride, or even to fall asleep in mid sentence. Well I've been doing it for a few weeks now, and getting quite blase, about it. In other words, I don't care, how many people I send to sleep.

Getting back to our day, we both went back to sleep, eventually waking up at 10.00 a.m., it was tipping down with rain, still, and I thought to myself, I should have got up, and gone for a cycle ride, I love riding in the rain, another opportunity missed, ah well. But all was not lost, that little problem called rain, wasn't going to stop us, not on our day off. So we decided to go for a walk, down at Aberavon beach, along the promenade, which must be one and a half miles long.

When we got there, the wind was howling, the sea was boiling, and we walked, from one end to the other, nice and warm in our waxed jackets, quite the country set, don't you know. It was really terrific with the wind to our backs, but the return leg, into the breeze with it's chill factor, soon had our eyes and noses, watering. By this time, we were both starting to feel, pangs of hunger. With great fortitude, we eschewed the inviting aromas of Reno's cafe, on the seafront, to go shopping at Morrison's supermarket.

From the veritable solitude of the beach, where we, at most, saw 5-6 other people, Morrison's car park was bursting at the seams. We got the papers, and a few other things, and then had a cup of tea,along with a sandwich, a la Morrison's, then headed for Neath's Tescos, because Elizabeth couldn't get the, all important potatoe bread, the Irish delicacy, vital to a true Northern Ireland fry-up.

On a wet day, boy it was wet, it seems that most of the population, in these parts, head for the supermarkets, because Tescos car park was also full. Once more we braved the aisles, and succeeded, in our noble quest, for the potatoe bread. Feeling quite peoud at our success, we decided to reward ourselves, with an upmarket, cup of coffee, otherwise known as a cappocino ( is it double "c" ?), at our special place in Neath, A La Creme, which isn't at all French, but reknowned for it's cream cakes. We were very good, despite the tempting counter, settling for a cappoccino each, well I had a Cappoccino Royale, with hazelnut syrup topped with real cream, that's at least another 5 miles on the bike!

At this stage it was getting dark, so we decided to head for home. While Elizabeth got on with the fry-up, I gave Ann and Conor, a lift to Swansea for an evening out with friends, they should be back now, we're babtsitting Jack, at least Tierloch is, they're playing games on his Xbox, or whatever it's called these days.Which almost brings me up to date, well on the computer, I can say, up to the minute, 21.45 p.m., to be precise.

To come to a close, and by the way, you've alot more reading to do yet, because I will ask questions at a later date, I think you will have to develope, that little known skill, called, what is it now?, sleep walking, no that's not it, ah yes, sleep reading.Goodnight and God Bless, hope to talk to you both soon.

Lots of love,
Elizabeth & Keiron

P.S. I believe I told you in the past that I preferred to write long hand,when composing letters etc., since I've been doing the blog, I am getting better at the old typing skills, I mean this has only taken me a mere 2 hours, so far, though one finger on each hand, is quite sore, Keiron jnr has told me he will download a typing course for me.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Lacking inspiration.

Lack of inspiration,that's been my problem since last Wednesday,and my last post.Oh I've kept up my commuting alright,had quite a few soakings from the heavy rain we've been getting these last few days,and the strong winds have tested me,but I'm happy to say,that nothing the weather has come up with,so far,has been able to dissuade me from cycling.However,as to writing this blog of mine,I'm getting extremely lazy,or to be a little fairer to myself,time is at a premium.

I work 12 hour shifts,when I'm days,I must be up at 04.00,washed,breakfasted and packed my bike and gear,to leave in the car,as far as Neath,by 04.30,then get my bike off the car etc.,cycle to work by 05.15,to take over my panel by 05.30.Then it's the reverse process homeward,to arrive here by 18.30,by the time I've showered,had my dinner,lovingly prepared by Elizabeth,checked my,usually bike related,emails and caught up with my favourite bloggers,it's 21.00,and on my way to bed.

So time is very much at a premium,consequently I think I'll only be contributing,if I can call it that,to this,my blog on my days off,a bit frustrating for me,especially as my memory is far from great.Most of my experiences,on my commute,must appear very humdrum and ordinary,compared to,what I call,the exotic trips of the mnbicyclecommuter,and Up in Alaska...etc.Perhaps that also puts me off,how can I make mine any where near as interesting as theirs?

Please excuse my rambling,but the truth is,I can't.What will help,is to publish some photos of my commute,and the sights I see,everyday,also by venturing further afield,and offroad a bit.That reminds me,I'm getting those new tyres fitted tomorrow at Halfords,I have to drop my bike into their store by 13.30,also my car has to go in for its 60,000 mile service,not too far away.I have to wait about 2 hours,while the car is serviced,then go back for my bike.All,hopefully,to be completed in time for me to get back to Neath,to do my cycle commute to work,so fingers crossed!

The new tyres I'm getting have extra tread,compared to the slick version I curently use,and so should allow me,more route choices to cycle on.I have grown to really like my Carrera Subway 8 bike,which I use to do my trips,to and from work.The internal hub 8 geared system suits me down to the ground,though the 26 inch wheels took alot of getting used to,after my start back to cycling,on the Raleigh Chiltern 3-speed,which even now,I really miss (it's still available to me locked in the shed safe and sound,but with a flat).Another problem with time,is getting some maintenance done,all this rain,heavy frosts,and road salt,has meant the Subway,needs a good service itself.When I booked it in,this morning,for the new tyres,I asked about a service,but no go until,at least Thursday,this week,so I'll have to give it a good lube myself,in the morning,and the service will have to wait till another time.Maybe I'll surprise everybody,and give the Subway a good wash and brush up,myself,I've bought the gear required.

So little time to do anything,that dreaded work always gets in the way,or is it me?Commentators are always saying,professionals seem to have more time,that probably sums up my cycling standard,as being,the lowest of the low.You lot out there in blogger land are all the ultimate professionals,whose standard I can only hope to aspire to.

Look at that,it's gone 21.10.,no I'm not going to bed,I've no work in the morning,it's back to night shift tomorrow,I'm considering having a bottle of cider as a nightcap,a real change for me,I rarely drink alcohol these days.No time I guess,but it might solve the inspiration problem,which brings to mind,the days when,long gone now,when I smoked a pipe.Back then I used to write letters alot,to the papers,to friends,to my union etc.,all the time smoking my pipe,boy I used to love that pipe,and smoking,especially when writing those letters.I gave it up,with no trouble,I still miss the habit,but I don't think I would,necessarily enjoy a smoke now,though the idea of it is still very attractive.

Talk about rambling on,forgive me all,I'll talk to you again soon,hopefully about my bike riding adventures,and still minus the pipe,but just maybe a small bottle of cider,who knows?

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Ignorance was bliss?

Two days since I fitted (with Tierloch's help),my cyclecomputer,my first ride to work on Tuesday,the thing failed to work,because I failed to slide it far enough into the housing bracket,which meant no electrical contact.At work I figured it out,and got it all set for my trip home,by the time I got to Neath,and pack everything on the car,it was too dark to go through the settings and get readings,mainly because I didn't have my spectacles!So I had to wait till I'd driven the rest of the way home.

Once I'd unloaded my bike etc.,I was checking out my figures for my ride,what a disappointment,my route was only 8.1 miles,I thought it was more like 10,my average speed was 11.4 mph,when everyone tells me most people can manage 12mph,the only high spot,I managed a top speed of 24.6 mph.Well anyway I had been believing my performanc was alot better than that,so I was suddenly deflated.Ignorance had indeed been bliss,but now on the positive side,I know what the true facts are,and the only way is up.I've alot to do,because I can now see it quite clearly,that while ignorant of the facts,I was deluding myself,and in fact had settled into a comfort zone,taking it too easy,and no wonder I haven't lost any weight,I've been congratulating myself on my efforts,by eating too much.

Consequently,goals have to be set and aimed for,and that trimming down diet for cyclists has to be adhered to.Also,because of the publicity about brittle bone disease being linked to cycling,I think I should be looking to incorporate some gym work,time is the problem there though.But soldier on I must.

Today I did my commute without too much effort,did average 12mph for both trips,hit a top speed of 18.6 mph,and have now officially completed 24.4 miles commute distance in total.I missed the rain that was about in plenty,and the wind had heavy gusts,with halestones.The traffic was heavy,but I'm learning all the time,never assume a driver is going to do what you'd expect,and leave a generous margin between them and you.Yesterday,I was very pleased with my brakes,which are discs.I was travelling along in a string of traffic,it must have been in the low 20's mph,when suddenly the car in front braked,for no apparent reason that I could see.I believe I had left enough of a gap between us,to cater for such an eventuality,it would not have been, save for my superb brakes.On top of that I was pleased with my technique of braking,or could I be back,once more,in those realms of "ignorance is bliss"?

You see I,in all these 19 months I've been cycling,have had no yardstick to measure my achievements against,that is plainly my fault,because I prefer to cycle alone,and looking at it seriously now,possibly I fear competition and also deep down inside I knew I wasn't that good after all.Things to ponder and hard decisions to be made,but not tonight I'm ready for bed,just one more thing,that carboot sticker,I rattled on about yesterday,perhaps I need a new one for my current predicament,how about,

"Cycling bliss,if it exists,has to be earned and substantiated"

or better still,that is crap

"Truth and bliss make strange bedfellows"

and that's not much better,as it sounds very old fashioned,
anyway,I'm off to make my bed and lie in it......sorry!!!

Monday, 7 January 2008

An hour at my local bike store.

Went out shopping with my better half today,just a few odds and ends,exchanging a faulty toaster that was still on warranty,buying a scart lead for Tierloch and his home entertainment set up (all too complicated for me),then trying not to look bored while Elizabeth hit the ladies clothing shops,just like a woman she couldn't decide today,leaving the all important decisions for a later date.....Ugh!!

But then I had the chance to visit the local Halfords store in Swansea,Elizabeth said she'd stay in the car and exchange some texts with her sister,sister-in-law and our eldest son in Northern Ireland,Belfast to be exact.Well it was like the veritable shackles had been loosed from my feet,I spent an hour in there.I got myself a basic cycle computer,12 functions,I've been longing to get an accurate measure of my commute distance,using googlemaps it works out at 8.9 miles each way,but I can't google my exact route,so I know that figure is not right.All I need now is ,once it's up and running,I'll get a much smaller reading,which will cause my ego to deflate somewhat.

I also bought some bike cleaning gear,because all my regular commuting in the cold and wet,along with the borough council's salting of the roads has left my bike in a sorry state,and I also ordered some anti-puncture tyres,I dread punctures more than anything,I've said before,I'm not at all mechanically minded,and ham-fisted,when it comes to fixing something,especially where some patience or dexterity is needed.As will be seen later in this post.

These items cost me just under £80,which cost nothing to me ,because of the generosity of my family i.e.,Elizabeth,Keiron,Tierloch,Conor,Anne and little Jack,who bought me £120 worth of Halfords vouchers for a Christmas present.So I've £40 left,which I hope to spend wisely.It's very difficult for a novice,like me,to decide what to get.Clothes are,obviously,very important,but I'm happy to make do with what I've scraped together,so far.I may not look very fashionable, but,I'm not cycling to win any fashion prizes,or look swish on a bike.I'll have to get a photo of me put into this blog of mine,in all my finery,once that is,I've figured out how to download pics from my mobile phone.

By the the time we got home I was itching to have a go at putting my new cycle computer onto my bike,for me the task was fiddly in the extreme,my less than patient persona was more than tested,poor Elizabeth,had to put up with my constant groans and grunts of consternation,as my podgy fingers and poor eyesight were given a severe examination.Looking at it positively,it must be the love of cycling that prevented me from getting someone else to do it for me,and I'm grateful I didn't,because consequently,no doubt,I'd be feeling a bit of a lemon,afterward for having done so.I have to admit Tierloch did come to my rescue,on the final furlong,and together we got it working,though sadly too late,to give it a test run.However,it is ready for my commute trip tomorrow,I'm days,so I'll be up at 04.00,to ride to work from Neath,let's see how far I really do cycle! By the way the forecast is for heavy rain,but as my blogger mate,Doug of Duluth,Minnesota so wisely said,

".......don't worry about me,rain doesn't hurt...."

Hope to talking to you all again soon,I think,posibly the word "all" might just be an exaggeration,I'll just say I'm posting this for posterity,but does the future deserve this?

Going back to that "rain doesn't hurt",as I mentioned to Doug there is a car sticker in there somewhere,how's this,

"Rain ain't nothing like pain."

How's that?

Friday, 4 January 2008

Fantastic day

Wow,came in from my commute home a couple of hours ago,stil feel so alive and just plain great.My commute in to work this morning was ordinary,though somewhat of a rush,I left home late,it was damp,but very mild.At work I discovered one of the lads has got a mountain bike,new for Christmas,and has started to part commute,to and from work,I'm pleased to say that he told me, he'd seen the benefit it had on me,and was going to try and get in a bit better shape.He's in his late twenties,and I'm 57 next month,so I was feeling rather proud of myself,all day.Come the afternoon the weather,as it had been forecast to do so,turned dreadful,very strong winds and heavy rain came sweeping in from the west.The newbie commuter promptly got a lift from a colleague to go home,while other colleagues expressed concern abou my trip towards home on my bike,also proffering lifts back to my car.I would have none of it,in fact I was relishing the thought of making the trip,in such weather.

The time came and I put my gear on,going outside was a struggle from the word go,I could barely hold the door open to negotiate my bike outside,one of my colleagues held it open while I got out onto the landing of our signalbox,he shouted "you're mad",as he closed the door again.Carrying the bike down the two flights of stairs in the wind was testing,as I was in the full elements of wind and rain,and I felt I was already soaked through,by the time I had reached ground level.Here I made a dash to a sheltered alcove in the yard while I switched on my lights and put on my gloves,only to discover I had left my beanie woollen hat in my car.

Already wet,I thought to myself,here goes,and pedalled off into the darkness,within minutes I was sopping wet,but I was warm and comfy,the wind dropped a little, and I made good progress to my car.The most envigorating part of the ride was passing a huge puddle,while at the same moment a car sped through it in the opposite direction,the spray rose up like a breaking wave, and smashed into me,whoof!!It was great,like being a kid again,splashing in the puddles.I thought,now I'm going to feel it,soaked through in this wind,but no my gloves,and the rest of my clothing kept me warm,and the rest of my ride was fantastic,in fact I wanted to keep going when I reached the car,fortunately common sense kicked in,I have to be back in work in the morning again.What's more my limited gear has to be dried for the morning,currently it's in the bathroom hanging on the radiators.

Looking foreward now to tomorrow's episode.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Post Christmas and into the New Year

I've been in work everyday,except yesterday,sinc Thursday 27th December,on nights,through the weekend,New Years Eve and Day_ugh!But the rewarding part of all of that was I did my commute every evening and morning,on my way in and on my way home.It threatened to rain alot,but I hardly got wet on any of my rides.I missed going out on my bike today,but I had to go to Cardiff,for our 15 weekly company safety briefing,and cognisco testing,which is supposedly a method of checking our,as siganllers,knowledge of the rules and regulations.None of us like it,but the company in its wisdom got some computer genius',to produce a computerised system to test us.Unfortunately,the people who designed the questions and answers,knew nothing about signalling,and the end result has been questions that don't make sense,or are so ambiguous,that one needs to be a professor of English to understand them.The worse thing of all is that no one can give the person who sat the tests a clear readout of what questions they got wrong or right,it mystifies me,who came up with this system and put into practise,but they won't give it up,and have persisted with it for about 18 months now,all the signallers I've talked to about it,hate it,and feel it diminishes their achievement,of qualifying as a signaller,and also the tasks that they carry out on a daily basis.

Enough of that,except to say I got through OK,despite feeling I'm coming down with some kind of cold bug,for the last two days I've been hitting the cough bottle,got a tickle in my throat,and now have just taken a couple of paracetamol,to try and ward,whatever it is,off.The weather forecast,gave a severe weather warning for today and tomorrow,for snow and freezing temperatures.Fortunately it seems to have missed us for the moment,the north of England and Scotland got it,though.I'm just hoping I can get away with this cold,so as not to affect my commute tomorrow.

I'm wrecked at the moment,yesterday,and this is the reason I missed my commute,because I had to take Keiron junior(32)to Cardiff airport,he flew to Belfast,wher he's staying with his granma,before going on to Dublin and then Cork.He's a Dr. of History and is researching for a book he's writing.The day started at 03.30,though I had had very little sleep,I drove him to the airport,then drove straight to work for 05.45,did my 12 hour shift and then came home.If I'd had to cycle I would not have made it,I take that back,I'm sure it would have been a welcome relief.Anyway I'm still feeling bushed,a ride would have been very refreshing,very sorry now didn't make time to do it.