Monthly Archives: March 2016

May I be the 1st to wish you Merry Xmas!

Easter Monday and the weekend has flown by at a unreasonable rate.

Despite my knee giving me severe gyp all weekend, Good Friday was spent enjoying myself working on wife’s MG TF. It doesn’t matter how well you check a car, or how far you test drive it, you only get to know its foibles when you live with it for a while. So there were one or two things that needed sorting. Luckily having worked at MG Rover for a good few years I do the know the car’s characteristics.

I reseated the carpet so it wouldn’t lift up from its edging trim, colour coded the door mirrors and door handles with MG Starlight Silver spray paint, tidied up some well dodgy after market cabling, fixed the heater controls, fitted a new stainless steel gear knob to replace a well worn leather one and fitted the tonneau cover over the soft top roof.

All that needs doing now is to replace the detachable hard top roof heated rear screen cabling and connectors that a previous owner had obviously forgotten to disconnect before he took the hard top roof off. Both the roof and the car sides of the connections are totally buggered! Luckily I know my way around a soldering iron.


The results of a couple of hours work, most of it unseen, but pretty pleased with the door mirror and door handle colour coding!

As it was sunny I took Dan for a spin with the roof down, his first experience of open topped motoring, he loved it!

Friday evening was the pub, as usual with the hooligans from the Park Gate at Dodford, 2 hours of “grown ups” being very silly and the kids being very sensible as the photo below proves.

sensible kids

Saturday as befits a Bank Holiday weekend in England was atrocious weather, so a day of TV Rugby watching it was. Wifey and Daughter went shopping and Dan benefited with a few more toy guns to add to his ever increasing armoury.

That left Sunday and a visit from an old Army mate, we enjoyed a cracking day telling war stories and generally pulling up too many sandbags. Jeff enjoyed listening to Fay’s stories as a youngster from the “Modern” British Army. No doubt us old and bold has beens were boring her senseless!

Me and Jeff used to do a lot of Mountain Biking together back in the day and I enjoyed showing him my belt drive bike, he’d never seen anything like it before and it was good to have a proverbial one up moment on him! He whacks around his Wiltshire trails on a Orange 29″ full suspension bike now. It was great to see him in such good form!

That leaves today, Bank Holiday Monday and it’s chucking it down. Standard. Not sure what she who must be obeyed has planned, no doubt I’ll find out shortly. I am home with Dan and Fay for the rest of the week and Wifey goes back to work tomorrow. I am still doing the right thing food wise, even with all of the Easter distractions, so the weigh in Friday will be interesting. Have fun people!


Thinking Positive…

I now have a week off looking after Dan during the Easter Holidays. I spent a hugely busy day at work yesterday prepping for my time off and making sure everything was in place for my absence. The last thing I want is for the place to fall over because I’m not there or my colleagues having to do stuff because I didn’t!

With the positive outlook and making a massive assumption that I will get my knee sorted soon I will be making an addition to my stable.

I already have a road bike in the shape of my Giant Defy, which has served me well and will continue to do so, I have my commuter, my self built belt drive Cotic Simple. What is missing since I sold my under used Orange 5 is a mountain bike.

I have had my share of full suspension bikes and to be honest, I’ve never really got on with them, even the Orange 5 which was by far the best full suspension bike I’ve ever had.

I have always liked hardtails, I’ve always liked Cannondales, so this beast will be winging its way to me pretty soon!


Cannondale Trail 1, I’m looking forward to a healthy knee and blasting my local trails!

Countdown to a bit of time off…

Difficult to come up with stuff to say at the moment, I know I’m looking forward to the Easter Break, a bit of down time with the family and seeing friends, always good for morale that.

I have a good old Army mate rocking up on Good Friday, I haven’t seen him since last Summer, always good to see Jeff. We used to be big Mountain Bike buddies back in the day, him on his GT Zaskar, me on my Orange P7, always out over the Forest of Dean, Cannock Chase, Sutton Park and other local MTB haunts. He like me still pedals, I believe on an Orange 29” full suspension bike. Fair play to him.

Oh well, back to work, just one more sleep to go and I’ll keep taking the painkillers…

Tricky testing times…

It’s been a tricky few days for me in way or another. I have been keeping my eye on the ball with food, difficult when your daughter is home on leave ordering take aways all over the place and constantly bringing other junk food in to the house.

I don’t blame her, a constant diet of Army 24 hour ration packs out in the field for pretty much 2 months and I’d be doing the same thing if I was a youngster!

Then there was the France v England match on Saturday, an evening in the pub watching the game then celebrating a tremendous Grand Slam win for England in the 6 Nations was another opportunity to fall off the wagon with the food. Beer normally equates to curry for me, but I didn’t and I resisted. That was a toughie.

The other tricky thing is my knee, since Friday/Saturday it has been getting steadily more painful, even with the anti inflams and strong painkillers it is a constant reminder that I am unlikely to be pedalling for a while. I am in a bit of trouble with it. My appointment with the knee specialist can’t come quickly enough! It is getting seriously more painful by the day.

All that being said, my concentration though tested hasn’t wavered yet. That’s got to be a good thing hasn’t it?

A peaceful day…A noisy evening planned…

Wifey and daughter are off on a shopping trip today to Manchester of all places, I’m certain we have shops here in the Midlands, still it means peace and quiet here! Dan will be off out around the village on his bike with his mates, brilliant!

I can have some quality time with my man cave and get all of those silly little jobs done that I’ve been putting off for a while. Music on, pottering around, messing with bikes and generally doing some much needed admin in there.

That leaves the evening and England’s Grand Slam game which I’ll be watching in the Parkgate at Dodford with my mates. A good day!

Weight update and France v England preview…

The scales told me it was a static weight week this week, even though my eating habits have been on point. Actually I’m lying, my daughter gave me a couple of Haribos Wednesday evening, so much for thinking clearly under pressure!

Anyway, back to reality, it’s Grand Slam game eve and England are in France preparing to play for a shot at glory. It is a game they should in my opinion win.

The French are in all sorts of trouble with how their National team prepares and how their top players are treated. It is even worse than here in England!

They have 3 main issues, the amount of games in a season they’re playing, the playing style of their league and the development of their younger players.

The top French players are playing 40 games a season which ends in June for a pre-season starting in July. That is scary given the attritional nature of their league, no time for their bodies or minds to rest, or for them to upskill their techniques.

Which brings me to point 2. The league style, it’s a power based bosh fest, with both teams trying to batter each other into submission, I’m not saying there aren’t great tries scored, but it means that the French aren’t conditioned to play a faster type of game, their large forwards being used more are therefore on the ground more so they are out of the game and they can’t last a full 80 minutes of high speed test rugby.

Which brings me onto point 3. Young player development. The amount of money in the French League is massive, the highest in world rugby, (But peanuts compared to football) so the coaches/chairmen can afford to tempt the top foreign players into their sides, Dan Carter/Jonny Wilkinson being good examples of this. So with so many imports taking up big game squad space their youngsters aren’t getting a fair crack of the whip in top level high pressure games, which is where you learn your craft.

That is the state of play in France.

For me England go into this game as favourites, starting with Danny Care and Mako Vunapola are good calls, they are slightly up tempo versions of the players they are replacing, it’s a horses for courses type selection, in terms of Rugby Ben Youngs and Joe Marler did nothing wrong last week and will no doubt figure in tomorrow’s game.

England need to stay square and connected in defence to stem the French power game, if they do that, then this current French team does not have much more to offer, maybe they’ll revert to their youth, ignore their coach and play free schoolboy rugby of the type they did when they used to smile!

But as we know, and it’s a cliché, but clichés are only so because there’s an underlying truth to them, if the French have one of those days, which are getting rarer now thankfully, then no one can live with them.

England just need to do what they’ve been doing, but with more accuracy, not shipping so many try scoring opportunities and with more pace. Get a few points ahead early, silence that French crowd and the first Grand Slam in 13 years could be a reality.

I can’t wait!!!!

Injury update

I was at the Docs yesterday morning having a knee check up. As predicted he has referred me to a knee specialist. Probably an MRI scan first I would imagine. My hamstring injury is as good as healed which is good news. But my knee is still extremely painful and I do walk with a cliched limp!

Onto other good news, my daughter came back home yesterday on Easter leave, we haven’t seen her since New Year. She has pretty much been out on excercise at the lovely Otterburn since then.

My food has been good this week and I will weigh in tomorrow!

Excitement is still off the charts from last week’s England win against Wales (Did I mention we beat Wales) and the opportunity for a Garnd Slam against France on Saturday!