Sunday 28 August 2016

Snakes (not spiders)

Oh the smell of Cadbury's chocolate as I cycled past the factory on Monday. At often times I pass Cadbury's on my work and back cycle commute. Sometimes it smells of chocolate, sometimes it doesn't - today it did! My return commute was quite special today too because I spotted the largest wild UK snake I have seen to date. Shame it was road kill. I think it must have been a grass snake. This is tat least the 4th wild snake I have seen whilst cycling now.  I do hope my mother isn't reading this.
Tuesday and Wednesday were lovely days for my cycle commute. Sunny and bright. If only I didn't have to work...

Thursday came and the weather turned bad. No exercise took place. Hard to prevent myself from becoming a fair weather athlete.

Felt better on Friday. The sun had come out and so did my running shoes. Completed a nice 10k run into work.

Weekend was spent doing family stuff with my wife and kids. We went and ventured around some rather fancy palace that housed Henry VIII at one time. Super nice seeing lots of wild deer. My thoughts soon returned to bike-packing once Lunar went and did a poo in a wooded area...

Saturday 20 August 2016

Porridge, kinda...

A rather un-eventful week. Every now and then, I get a week and everything right seems wrong again. This was largely one of them weeks.

The week didn't start too bad on the training front. I took a cycle commute to work and back on Monday. Maybe the 'going to work' bit wasn't so great.

Tuesday was a run into work. I find running a little harder of late - think that's because my frequency and intensity has greatly reduced. This run wasn't so bad.

Wednesday was much like Monday. On my cycle commute my front wheel starting making those squealing pig noises again. Thankfully this was easily fixed by tightening up the front wheel.
To take or no?
Did not train any further this week. Weather wasn't kind. Had wanted to cycle to work over the weekend (yes, I had to work the weekend too) using my fully laden gravel bike. Here lay a further problem. Am not sure how I am going to load bike up yet. Is so hard 'packing' in the bike packing sense. Still not really sure what I am going to take. Not sure what I am going to strap where. My bags seem to swing and sway a little wherever I put them. Do I need a back pack? Do I need to use a handlebar harness? Does the harness I have suit this bike? Where is my battery pack? Argh...
Had experimented making porridge this week which went a little better. I essentially stole a recipe from the internet and tried it myself. This was good because I was able to test my stove cooking skills again and potentially be able to feed myself (breakfast at least) during my planned trip. Cheap, light-weight food. The porridge mix is kept in a food bag and once hot water is added I eat from there. My wooly hat acts like a cozy. My secret mix could't be too bad either because the Mrs requested I made her a bowl and she ate the lot! 

Saturday 13 August 2016

Fully blown camping!

This week was certainly a little different to the norm. Oh yes, this week we went a camping with wife, kids, warts and all! Well, we actually didn't take too much gear because we really didn't have too much gear and I wanted to test the ultralight gear that I had.

Prior to our adventure I ensured that my trusty Trangia stove was working well. Felt quite proud that I made myself a pot stand and windshield all DIY style. Tim the Toolman Taylor indeed!
My funky little project fitted inside my titanium mug too. Bonus! I reckon there's room to stuff more stuff in too!
SJ prepared for our trip by ensuring Doo Little gardens were first well watered. Lunar was real excited that Chester Bear (from nursery) would be coming along. Chester was a bit perplexed that every now and then folk would call him Barney.
Food was a major part of our adventure. Sometimes we ate out and when we did we ate some real tasty stuff. The dishes below were some tasty Greek dishes that we couldn't pronounce.
We ate at Wetherspoons a few times too. Their breakfasts were huge and cheap. I pinched some of the Nutella spread for my Turin-Nice trip. Good thinking eh?!
Sometimes, we would eat at our camp site which was situated right in the Forest of Dean (Bracelands). I got to try out my titanium knife (even before my spork). The cake was delicious and the knife a success!
The cake tasted even better washed down with a little rum. How handy, I had a little hip flask to test out. Pretty neat!
Naturally, I had to try out my Trangia stove. For the most part it worked just fine and many cups of tea were had. SJ complained hers was cold (she faffed about for ages before she took a sip). I had been cooking with this gel fuel and wanted to try meths. With meths in hand (well stove), I cooked the girls some beans which seemed to go down well.
If truth be told, I nearly caused a camp fire. The meths burnt very well but it was hard to put out. Previous fires were easily extinguished using the Trangia lid as a snuff. Meths however, would continue to burn (there is a tiny weeny hole in the lid). The O ring on the lid caught fire and whoosh, burnt bottom of mug. Grr. Never stopped the girls eating mind.
As stated already, the camp site was pretty awesome. We were in a real pretty area and if we were to camp here again we would know our way around so much better. There were signs for wild pigs everywhere but we never caught a glimpse of one. Saw some wild deer though which was nice.
We lived in a 3 man tent for the duration of our adventure. I took to sleeping in the porch, and the girls in the main tent. My self-inflating mattress worked a treat. The girls had to keep pumping their mattress even in the crazy hours of the night. Maybe that was why Lunar sneaked into my bivvy!
Some of our adventures included climbing great heights and walking down steep slopes. The view point from Symonds Yat rock was quite spectacular. It appeared the birds of prey had migrated though.
Being so high up of course meant that we had to clamber real low down. I think we must have walked miles. Walking was a challenge for SJ and I, but Melody appeared to have it nailed!
Melody and Lunar found a magic money tree at the bottom. Try as they might they couldn't extract any money from this tree. They managed to extract money from their ma and pa though!
On the flatter ground we walked some more. And more and more. Then I found a little swing to monkey around on for a while.
I really enjoyed swinging from that good rope. It gave a short rest from walking. On we went and then we found a super bridge which was fun to run across. Lunar made repeat trips.
Those that know me well will know that my navigational skills leave a little to be desired... As we made our way back to camp, I suggested we took a short cut. All were in favour because we were knackered. At times we would pull each other up the inclines, or I would push both girls in the buggy.
Whatever it took to keep us happy. Happy we were! Especially when a 'random' woman agreed to drive me to the car park to collect my car (and save me a good 5k walk).
Each adventure would ultimately end up back at the campsite. We really enjoyed it here. It was our home for a few days.
Our last holiday adventure didn't end up back at the campsite though. Oh no, our last holiday adventure was a trip to Goodrich Castle. Lunar took Chester Bear from nursery out with us too.
Just because our holiday was over did not mean that the fun stopped. On our drive home we reflected on adventures had. We also planned adventures for times ahead - watch this space!
Once home, it didn't take me long to start thinking bicycles again. I took Winter to get serviced and I'm real pleased to say her brakes worked again. My only training this week was the short cycle back home from the bike shop in Redditch. Winter looked really rather special in her new guise as a gravel bike (tyre clearance is really on the limit - am sporting 32mm tyres). The photo's below show her mostly loaded for her Turino - Nice adventure. I'll blog more in later posts with exactly which kit I plan to take.
More adventure was had with the family over the weekend. We took a trip to Baddesley Clinton and essentially had a picnic. Very strange place this and boasts a moated manor house.
This picnic provided the perfect opportunity to sup on the pale ale that my buddy Chris had won for growing his 9 month beard and moustache! Bottoms up. Delicious. Nice one Chris.

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year folks. I wonder what's in store for 2022,  - something crazy, something new? It's a shame Covid is still here and I&#...