Thursday, 25 February 2010

One of those days.........

Have you ever had one of those days? One, which seems endless, yet you achieve sod all!

Well, that's precisely my day today.

It started, sorry failed to start, with me lazily staying in bed. I mean it was just pure laziness. Yesterday, thank goodness, I commuted to and from work, probably only the 6th, or at most, the 7th time I've managed to do so, in the last 2 months, because of my morbid fear of ice. Obviously, what fitness I had attained up until just before Christmas, had disappated, delapidated or downright shrivelled, because it was very hard work cycling back home up the valley.

As a result Iwas tired this morning, and my legs were stiff. The plan, last night, was to get back into the habit of a loop down and back up the valley before breakfast, on my free days, ( my days off shift ), which I was doing at least two or three times a week, through last year. But no, I just lay there thinking, and procrastinating about it, until of course it was just too damned late!

That, sadly, set the tone for the rest of the day.

Elizabeth and I had to go to Swansea to run some errands, Conor our middle son, married and living across the street, called over to ask if he could tag along, he's been painting his bathroom, on a day off from work, and wanted to call at a DIY shop for some items. I wanted to get some parraffin for my shed stove/lamp/heater, I'll have to get a photo of it into the blog, it's the business, and a major part of my plan to lead a solitary life holed up in MY SHED. Trouble is it's full of crap, save for my bikes and gear, of course.

I know I'm digressing now, from "One of those days....". but I have to tell you this. When I became a signaller on the railway, my third post was grade 3 signaller at Abergavenny signalbox. It was, and still is, what I like to call a proper signalbox, with a large interlocking frame and approximately 80 odd levers. Using bell codes, telephones, levers connected to signals by a system of wire runs and pulleys out on the trackside, I'd signal trains up to Tram Inn, or down to Little Mill, the boxes either side of Abergavenny. In between trains, especially at night or in winter, I'd be sat smoking my pipe, next to a coal fired pot bellied stove.

Well that is what I wanted it to be, the truth is the pot bellied stoves disappeared, from the majority of boxes with privatisation, and in reality, I was sitting next to an electric fire, and not a very good one. But when I was training to be a signaller, I visited the Crewe railway heritage site, and had a go on the levers etc., The signalbox was fitted with the traditonal pot bellied stove, and we tooke it in turns to keep the coal fire going. Simply great, since that time I've always dreamt of me smoking my pipe next to such a stove.

It's never going to come to fruition though, because I gave up smoking my pipe six years ago.

However, a remnant of that dream is still attainable, a pot bellied stove in my shed. Currently, I have the parraffin stove, in my shed, which, though a poor substitute, is part way to a picture of myself I can see. Me sat in my shed with a mug of tea, kettle on the stove, while studying a something mechanical to do with my bikes.

But first I've got to clear all that crap out of there. Will I have to get another shed first?

Sorry I've got to close now, phonecall from work, asking me to work a dayshift tomorrow. I said yes, and I want to ride in, not drive, so I'd best get to bed, I've got to be up very early, 03.45 to cycle the 20 miles in to start by 05.30. The good news is, I should be home in plenty of time for the Wales versus France rugby game tomorrow evening.

Cheers, I hope I get back to telling you about the rest of "One of those days...."

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

On my soapbox.

I've just been replying to a comment, from my blogging pal Nick. During that rambling reply, yes I know I do go on, my dander was raised i.e., I became very concerned about the degenerates who litter our streets with glass, and other sharp detritus, seemingly smashed and thrown where it can do most harm. Here, in my part of the world, I believe the problem is endemic, and it's no wonder to me, that we humans are destroying the natural world around us at such a rapid pace.

Our behaviour is disgraceful, cosumerism does not give us the right to litter our streets, paths, fields, hedgerows, woods, streams, rivers, seas and oceans, the way that we do. Why are we letting ourselves do this?

What's the government doing about it ? Or better still what are we doing about it ?

I believe it's up to us all to do something.

The government to punish those that are too lazy or trying to make money out of not recycling waste on either a personal or industrial scale, while we the public get involved in recycling and disposing of our waste goods in proper and beneficial ways, that help the environment. Quite simple really.

Meanwhile, as far as the toerags that litter the roads and cyclepaths we travel on, they should be sh....!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Me doing bike maintenance?

As the saying goes, "needs must".

Did my normal commute to work last Thursday evening, I was nights, and got a puncture in my rear tyre about a third of a mile from my work. As I'm a very poor handyman, at the best of times, I decided to walk the rest of the way, pushing the Subway 1. Got there O.K., I'm normally 15-20 minutes early, when I ride the bike, in order to cater for any mishaps on the way, I'd hate it, that I should delay my colleagues from going home on time.

The great news is, I fixed the puncture, and got the bike back together during my breaks overnight. What's more, it all held up for my journey back home, in the morning. Feeling rather pleased with myself, I decided to ride in early the next day (Friday), as the sun was out, I thought I'd cycle along the seafront at Aberavon. When I arrived at roughly the same spot as the day before, the rear tyre punctured again!

So another 15 minute walk to complete my journey.

Once again I was busy during my breaks, but things didn't go so well as they had the previous evening. Checking the inner tube, I found the puncture was right in the middle of the patch I'd used the night before. Quite a coincidence, I mean what were the chances of that happening? I thought to myself. Putting it down to just that, a flukey coincidence, I removed the patch and put a new one on. Wrong!!!

When I pumped it up it seemed fine, so I deflated and inserted it back into the tyre. and pumped it up, ready for the morning. Half an hour or so later, I felt the tyre, only to find it had gone down. So I went through the whole procedure again, to find the inner tube had been holed again, but on the inside, directly opposite, the new patch I'd put on. Presumably, my first repair, the night before had left some sharp debris inside the tyre, or probably in the inner tube itself, that caused the patch to be pierced, and now the inner wall as well.

So I put another patch on this new puncture, and pumped up the tube, but this time I left it, to see if it would stay inflated. Sadly, when I did check it later it had gone down. I wasn't prepared to go through the rigaramole again so I got out a brand new spare inner tube from my pannier bag, and pumped it up, to check it was O.K.. I then pumped up the original again, intending to find the "new" puncture. I couldn't find any hole in it, and it remained inflated ? I put it down to a temporary problem with the valve, because it stayed up all night. Meanwhile, I put the new inner tube into my back tyre, and made it home again on that. Of course, I still have a spare inner tube, albeit it has two patches on it.

Gosh it has taken a long time to explain all that, I hope it all makes sense.

They say practise makes perfect, I know I'm faraway from perfect, but those two nights mending punctures, going through the procedures etc., has made me alot more confident of dealing with them in the future.