A head above water breaststroke start to Sunday down at the lovely lido.
I forgot to pack my goggles.
My pace was reduced by around 50%, but my enjoyment factor was immeasurable.
The lido historically has always been my pool of pleasure. It has been where I go to arse around, rather than do some serious swimming.
I noticed that sometime around 2007 and it became my serious swimming fitness pool. It's no coincidence that this transition coincided with the change in management to Fusion...
But swimming head above water breastroke is like a throwback to the wild abandon Brockwell days when I had nothing else to think about apart from how much home brew I could smuggle in.
I was able to look around at my surroundings and take in the beautiful Brockwell blue.
The water appeared slightly more choppy when compared to the usual freestyle head under water swim. I tried to focus on my breastroke, but it's not a style that suits me.
A quick shower, and then it was time for the debut performance of the Brockwell Mermaids, the newly formed synchronised swimming troupe down at the lido.
This was as predictably BONKERS as we all thought that it would be. Eight women and three men, all looking pretty in pink and GURNING away to some bloody loud Abba on a Sunday morning.
It was absolutely brilliant.
I stopped off once again at Lidl en route back to the Sunny Stockwell base. The cycling gear from yesterday had more or less disappeared.
Sunday was all about being the Lavender King of SW8.
I was the first person in the store, and first to walk out with SIX trays of lavender.
We're still planning on replicating the Vauxhall Lavender Garden for the front. I did get a strange look from the Lidl chap - if it's not lycra then it's lavender that I'm clearing off the shelves.
The rest of the day was spent on the piss in the pavilion.
Duplication is over-rated. And so are Surrey right now.
I did manage some drunken gardening after I staggered back to base. The lavenders were planted, almost in homage to the beautiful patterns being created by the Brockwell Mermaids earlier in the day.
I think that I planted some potatoes as well.
Will they grow into chips by tomorrow morning?
Drunken gardening RULES.
An early morning Lidl Cycle Fest for Saturday. I simply LOVE it when Lidl has a flash cycling sale.
Of course it's not a flash sale in the same way that a branded Boxpark established chain will manufacture some crappy online campaign and call it a wacky flash sale.
Lidl simply get a load of cycling / gardening / rubber fetish stock in, and then flog it off as quickly as possible.
If you manage to make it to one of the stores just as the stock is being put on display then you have hit Lidl GOLD.
I managed such a feat in Sunny Stockwell early on Saturday morning. I proudly walked out with a tramp pump, long sleeve lycra, a gilet (a GILET!) and a pair of cycling specs. I still had change from a £20 note.
I was so impressed that I then cycled down the road to Acre Lane to see if I could pilfer any further goodies from the Brixton branch.
No such luck. The SW9 stock had already been lifted.
I then made my way to Brockwell Park. I was aware that some corporate fest was scheduled to take place, but I had no intention of attending.
Oatley were the corporate Kings cashing in on the Nu Brixton... buzz. They basically make milk that isn't milk. The strapline is Wot No Cows?
A small section of the park had been fenced off with a mini-fest (a break-fest if you will...) taking place.
The lure of free smoothies and mango juice proved too tempting. I took the corporate shilling, smiled, and tried to walk out with as much freebie juice as I could conceal in my new gilet (a GILET!)
It was actually shhh rather lovely.
Just like the lido, which was my next stop for Saturday morning.
The pool temperature is back up to 19.5 degrees. Give it the first week of the new school term and we'll be back down to 15 degrees.
Frostalgia 'aint what is use to be, Comrades.
A lilting sun lit up my swim. It was trying to burn through the Transpontine clouds as I put the lengths in.
I had another of those all too common lido moments of not knowing if it was a bird or a plane overhead.
I LOVE outdoor swimming.
Twenty lengths later and I was starting to tire. My body was also hovering on the slightly shaky side, something of a first for the post-summer season.
I noticed a breastroking lady enthusiastically making up time on me in the same lane.
She didn't look like an Olympic swimmer from appearances, but boy (girl) she was giving it some.
I then clocked that she was swimming freestyle for the first forty yards of each length, and then dipping into breastroke for the final ten.
I was finished, and took up a poolside position to encourage a little more lilt from the South London sun.
The lido was absolutely empty when I left.
A few errands around Brixton, and then an afternoon or urban gardening - my favourite kind. It's the most social of outdoor activities. I feel like I've said HELLOOO to half of Sunny Stockwell this afternoon.
I'm determined not to let the front garden fall into a state of disrepair once again. Spending a month of Sundays at the start of the year fighting back the growth is my inspiration.
I live in perpetual fear of ivy. It ALWAYS must die, even the first few shoots as was the case on Saturday afternoon.
For one moment I transported back to 1999 with the sound of Concorde thundering over South Lambeth Road once again.
Either planes have got a lot louder, or my hearing has improved over the past decade or so.
The evening was spent Bankside at The Globe. No surprises that I got confused with a Comedy of Errors within the first half hour.
It was a romp of a production, and one that I will try and blog about as I sober up from an afternoon on the piss in the Pavilion with @surreycricket tomorrow.
C'mon the 'rrey!
A BIG swim to start the day. My body needed it.
Ow woe is me etc, but my early morning body aches have been building up over the past few weeks. The only way to stretch them out is to swim.
I started off slowly and then built up my speed. Fifty lengths later and it was time rather than tedium that cut short the swim.
There was something of a mini Ride of the Falling Leaves for the short cycle back to base.
It was the same for the supermarket sweep gardening session ahead of the work shifts. I had half an hour in which to make an unloved garden look half-decent.
The first leaves are starting to drop off the unknown wall climber thing that I can never be arsed to either look up or even trim.
It turns a glorious deep red around mid-Setember, should the leaves manages to remain intact up until then.
I sailed through a day of work shifts with Trojan Dub. I could feel the bass on the floorboards as I went about my business. I think that the neighbours could feel it as well.
Well I never.
Late afternoon and my FoI from ECC came in, just in time to meet the legal requirement.
It’s data heavy as requested. I don’t think that it will tell us anything of great value, apart from tallying up the results from the public consultation with all the puff that the politicians have been putting out.
This form of data release really shouldn’t be left to the folly of an FoI. The consultation ended last year. It’s WEIRD that it’s taken an FoI to finally release the data.
A late bicycle ride saw us chasing down the setting sun.
Predictably BOOZE and cricket completed the week.
Transpontonia tomorrow, Comrades
Another morning spent planning on how to streamline.
I’ve been thinking a lot of late about how I approach online / offline projects. There’s probably a clue in to where I think I can improve my way of working when I say ‘thinking…’
The problem is never one of finding content to capture, be it in a work situation or a social one; the issue is the backlog of publishing back at base.
Can’t you just tell that I have been thinking perhaps a little too much?
Never underestimate the time it will take you to edit and publish online content.
As with all modern interweb brainwaves, the solution presented itself to me on Thursday morning whilst cleaning the toilet.
Just go out there and capture stuff whilst it is there.
Don’t even fret about the publishing. If it appears online then great. If not then at least you will have the video / audio / images archived away on your hard drive for historical purposes.
Driving all of this is the turnaround it takes me when working in a school. It is very much a hit and run process of capturing content, moving on, then being bogged down in publishing back at base.
I’ve been aware over the years that I tend to make decisions whilst in a school as to where my work for the rest of the day will take me, depending on the time it will take to publish.
This is completely wrong. If any working environment lends itself to the ethos of capture it whilst you can, then it certainly has to be in a school.
And so I spent the early part of Thursday morning working out how I can cut some corners during the capturing process in order to gather as much possible content as possible. It may or may not later appear online. Having that choice to make at a later stage has to be a good thing.
No such future planning for the afternoon and evening of work shifts. I leave that to the lovely folk way above me in the online food chain.
In the absence of a holiday-ing @RobertElms, much of the working soundtrack for today was of a Brit funk variety.
I’m slowly working through the Kokomo back catalogue. It’s a lovely laid back fag end of summer vibe. They’re playing in the rock ’n’ roll enclave of Putney tomorrow night. I’m tempted to tag along.
We found out late in the day (and just in time for the Lambeth Council legal deadline) that our Planning Application has been approved.
It’s been pretty hellish to be honest. Any form of alteration in a Conservation Area ‘aint for the faint-hearted.
Work starts on Monday
It’s not quite When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease, time, but we’re getting there. BOOZE and the Essex Slappers with Anna completed the day.
The Slappers lost. BOOZE won.
It’s the race against the clock to get everything ready for the new school term. It’s not so much the actual preparation for returning to schools per se (although I have yet to really set up my new MacBook) but more the general out of term tasks that I promised myself I would tick off before the return to school.
The hope was that the Stockwell flat would be pretty much ready ahead of the new term.
Hopes, dreams etc.
I did spent a little time today actually planning for the school year ahead. My three main work sites are dated. They need some freshening up, but not an overhaul.
I don’t think that the wonderful world of South London Schools are quite ready for a responsive cross-platform content delivery twaddle. And hurrah for that.
I still work in the same way that I did back in the day with @RichardGallon down in the ITN basement. I sketch out what I want, and then my man builds it.
Job’s a good ‘un, etc @pmmikes.
Thoughts then turned from the digital to the mechanical.
Enthused by my bicycle chain cleaning success earlier in the month, I doubled my mechanical skills with a slight readjustment to the gears. My MTB wasn’t finding the top gear. A few online tutorials later, and it all just about clicks into place.
Gonna build a carbon frame during the tea break tomorrow morning…
TMS commentary was the soundtrack for the working day. I’ve fallen into the habit of choosing @surreycricket commentary over TMS whenever there is a clash.
You can never have too much cricket on the radio (although I’m still feeling painfully sore about #t20BashFinals…)
I watched the ODI highlights in the evening, and then caught up with La Vueleta. I can't but help think that ITV aren't giving the grand treatment to the Grand Tour.
A weird end to the day playing some dancehall via youtube. Really no idea why, but it did cheer me up.
I finally finished my Cressingham piece for Brixton Buzz first thing on Tuesday. It’s a tricky tale to tell, with many complex issues and wider regeneration implications.
Sadly Cressingham isn’t alone in experiencing social displacement as gentrification.
I’m quite pleased with the final piece, but feel for the residents who are fighting a strong campaign.
It's being published tomorrow.
A full on day of work shifts followed. The new Conversocial seems to have settled down. I’d love to see some stats about how it helps online productivity.
Not much else to add.
Oh my aching sides.
Ha, bloody ha.
The mystery pain down my left hand stomach has still to disappear. I tried sleeping on my right, my back, on top of Anna.
I still woke up feeling slightly wonky.
And of course the silly wonker then decided to got for a run first thing Monday morning. It was too wet to ride, even to swim.
The little trot was actually alright. The legs held up, the aching side gave me a little bit of grief when I was going down hill.
It was the perfect running weather once again - a slight breeze and drizzle. There’s not much else you can do in such conditions. Fishing maybe?
Thanks, but no thanks.
I had a bit of a Bank Holiday clearing of the decks, ahead of the work afternoon shifts.
I still can’t come up with a Twitter ‘strategy’ (ha!) that suits me. I work mainly off lists, rather than drowning out my timeline. But that’s not very social.
I started to scroll back at all my very kind followers. Many are dead accounts - dead in that they are in active, some dead as in folk are no longer with us.
I quite like the Twitter memorial that remains online.
It was also revealing how you could trace your own short bursts of life history through the users who follow you during a particular period.
As I scrolled down chronologically, I could see who started following me at a certain time, and then make the connection as to why this was.
It might have been a work moment, a social event I went to, or even a grand lifestyle change. Twitter is great at documenting these changes in your life.
Endless admin followed: insurance haggling, switching pension beneficiaries (ha!) and setting up new ftp clients (and trying to remember all the bloody pws…)
Work was wonderful.
Well I never.
There’s a certain smug feeling as a freelancer knowing that you are earning on a Bank Holiday Monday when it is absolutely pissing it down outside.
I rewarded myself by renewing my Surrey membership for next season.
C’mon the ‘rrey!
Booze, football etc finished off the day.
A rare route variation for the Wifey Weekend Roll out. Chuff knows where we went. Good job that Strava has kept a record.
40km at a leisurely pace. I was half-asleep for most of the ride to be honest. I bolted myself behind Anna’s back wheel, and allowed her to tow me around.
I still don’t trust her wobbly de-cleating action.
Even though this was foreign territory, you still get a sense and understanding of the changing landscape.
I’m no great believer in all of this deep level topography crap, but my half-awake mind did alert me that a climb, some water or a valley was just around the corner.
I’ve probably been here in a previous life - just not as a cyclist, mind.
We had to stop at the foot of a particularly steep climb along a lane to allow a passing car to come down. A hill start was not what I was anticipating for a Sunday morning.
And then towards the run in we passed a field of freshly picked onions. The aroma was a right stink.
The farmer had left them scattered out in the field, waiting for the onions to be picked up in a bag.
You could write a whole blog about that…
Back at base and the call went out of:
‘To the Canoes!’
We’ve certainly mastered the canoe transportation and launch policy over recent months.
After a couple of years of trying and failing to attach the canoe trollies that insist on collapsing with various straps, Anna had the brainwave of reverting to a traditional seesaw method.
It works wonders.
Having access to the Sailing Club Old Hard is also ace. It’s removes any domestic incident during the transportation and launching charade that characterised our previous trips out in the canoes.
Once in the water and it was great to see so many other users now accessing the Colne. We paddled down as far as the Hythe against the turning tide, and then drifted back as the water was starting to turn.
To complete the trilogy of my new swimming and cycling power techniques, I tried something similar with the paddles. I put more power on the strokes and entered the water at a higher angle.
I only succeeded in creating a splash and getting very wet.
Later in the afternoon and time and tide featured again.
I’m pondering life without a watch. The 18th birthday present from my sister finally packed up this morning.
I’ve no idea what time this all took place - the big hand simply became dislodged and gave up on ticking around.
Not bad for 26 years service.
And so what next?
The Dandy within rather fancies a pocket watch on a chain. But that will just lead to more piss taking from the kids at school.
Do I really need a new watch? Isn’t that what my iPhone is for?
I’m planning a trip to Stuart the Watch at Brixton Market.
I cycled off into Colchester late afternoon for the St Botolphs Big Sunday. It was a lovely end of summer occasion, superbly organised, and just the right size for this type of intimate event.
The plan was to whizz around the four main venues, and then capture it all on camera. I became pleasantly delayed in the Waiting Room with the Real Ale and some good pals.
I hope that the event makes a return.
And a so a good day of doing outdoor stuff. The weather looks woeful for Bank Holiday Monday, and I’ve got work shifts all afternoons.
And so T20 Finals Day is upon us.
Writing a diary blog at the end of each day kinda spoils the suspense of what is going to happen.
We started off Saturday with a half-decent pre-Vuelta roll out. My bloody back was hurting first thing.
GET ME BACK ON MY BIKE.
It’s always the best cure.
Anna took the tactical decision to ride the Abberton weekend ride in reverse.
I just LOVE a girl with a sense of rock ’n’ roll spontaneity.
It was actually really weird doing it all backwards. I took the wrong turning a couple of times, despite having ridden the route over fifty times in the past year alone.
Not a great speed. I was too busy observing the changing Essex landscape. A couple of pheasants flew out in front of me at one stage.
That’s not something you see back down in Sunny Stockwell.
There was an excess of other Essex early morning riders. It got to the stage at one point where cars weren’t the problem - it was the other riders clogging up the country lanes.
LOVE a bike snob.
I tried to change my climbing technique slightly. Rather than rely upon my calves, I tried using my the top half of my legs instead. I found that I had far more power, yet not so much control.
I reverted back to the old school technique for the final climb along Boundary Road. Anna dragged my body and bike all the way up to the top.
We stopped for a swim on the return back to base. Anna’s tumble turns were elegant, if a little egotistical.
I tried one and ended up with water up my nose.
And then it was all about Surrey over at Edgbaston. A brilliant innings from J-Roy wasn’t enough to see the ‘rrey through to the final.
I drowned my sorrows with some drunken gardening.
A spot of late afternoon work - needs must.
And then an early evening booze ’n’ food catch up with some friends was a fine finish to the day.
A Hi-NRG / low impact swim.
I totally get the Muscle Mary need to lift weights with a thumping cheesy 80's bass blasting out. But Evelyn Thomas and Hi-NRG in the pool?
I’ll bring some earbuds along for next time.
The conversation in the showers afterwards was also a little warped.
“I watched that Ben Affleck film last night.”
“Not really. I prefer Bjorn Borg.”
I then towelled down my bits and pieces whilst another bather asked me:
“Do you remember that West Ham wanker?”
I innocently replied:
More conversational twaddle continued back at base. I published Metroknobbers No.7 with @Darryl1974.
As ever, we’re getting there.
This is a ahem low budget, S Ldn punk rock DIY ethos of a production. I press record on the Skype package that I bought, and then we slowly work our way through a hastily assembled news list.
I loved Darryl’s scoop on the Royal Borough and a possible press pact with the South London Press. Careful who you sleep with, Comrades.
We bumbled our way over the allotted 30 minutes. No worries. No Editors, no subbing, just Tell It Like It Is.
The earlier Hi-NRG dropped down a few gears for the first work shifts of the morning. Late Junction has taken on something of a jazz slant of late.
I’m no big blowing fan. It all sounds rather painful at times. But when it’s performed in a softly, softly approach, it can be a great way to ease you into the working day.
Work was busy. No Funky Friday here.
I did get a chance to listen the ACE four-fer with Jackie Wilson though. I admit to some slight foot shuffling underneath the office desk.
A few modern interweb woes mid-afternoon. 4Uhosting, my lovely, lovely main hosting provider is rolling out PHP 5.4 as the native version. All was fine across my work and play sites, apart from the bloody Wivenhoe Forum.
A frantic five minutes or so with yer man @pmmikes, and then we resolved to jump ahead and roll out 5.5.
Wivenhoe Forum: ahead of the curve.
Well I never.
Anna and I caught the Sunny Colch Booze Train early evening. The Waiting Room was our destination for the start of the Real Ale Weekend Festival.
We don’t make it to the Waiting Room nearly as much as we should.
It was a lovely social occasion, and good to catch up with some decent friends.
No one sniggered at the braces.
T20 Blast Final Days tomorrow.
‘aint gonna sleep.
C’mon the ‘rrey!
I had another Hans Solo swimming lane to myself this morning. It was absolute bliss.
It may sound like holistic hippie shit, but I felt at one with the water as I cut through it with my strokes.
The pool was completely still. I managed to find the perfect depth in which to wade through the water. I had an incredibly powerful swim.
Not so for the Kneeling Man next door in the other lane. He wasn’t so much swimming, but kneeling down with his weird breaststroke technique.
What is it with the Badlands pool that seems to attract such a freaky display of swimming styles?
M’fargo blog has almost become an online diary of horror show swimming techniques. Betach some other Badland bloggers are bashing out the same bollocks about my perfectionist freestyle.
Back at base and I published a snap shot of some of the photographs I have been taking around the garden of late. It’s my favourite time of the year as the Indian Summer bloomers start to overtake the balmy Badlands mid-summer roots and shoots.
My next mid-morning move was to put in a little preparation and planning ahead of the new school term.
Steady the buffers - that almost sounds half-professional.
The plan is to streamline my various online processes and emerge with a leaner, meaner way of working.
Well, maybe not meaner in schools. That’s just not possible with so many lovely smiling kids around.
Essentially I’m looking at ditching my tools. I currently roam around schools with my iPad for audio, a flip cam for video, my fave F717 for images and then the chunky old MacBook for bashing out copy and putting it all together.
Plus my offline notepad for scribbles.
With the new MacBook Air [oooh] I have become conscience that my old methods and approaches were very much dated.
Which ‘aint great when you’re flogging yourself around South London schools as the 2.1 self-facilitating online media node.
And so I spent much of the morning thinking about my current practices, and how these can change.
It’s all comes down to the iPhone, innit?
I think that I’ve come up with a solution for my elongated video production (ha!) process. Previously I have been shooting an AVI file on the flip, importing this into the MacBook, importing that clip into a file conversion tool, seeing it emerge at the other end as a .mov file, dropping that into iMovie, adding in a top and tail of the school logo, exporting the final file to Vimeo and then embedding in the back end of each school site.
I think the above explanation tells you why I prefer working with the simplicity of @audioboo rather than video content.
Of course I’m well behind the tech here.
I’ve worked out that I can simply record a far higher quality clip on my iPhone, carry out a simple edit on the iPhone to add in some stills and titles, and then export directly from the phone to Vimeo.
The stumbling block was getting the school logos from iPhoto into my Camera Roll. It was relatively simple when I discovered how.
There was also an issue with multiple Vimeo / school accounts. The only way around this was to sign out and then back in again with the Vimeo app on my iPhone. A minor inconvenience.
The upshot is that I calculated what use to be a 15 minute turnaround for a MacBook video edit is now possible in under three minutes.
Every second counts when working in a school.
I really shouldn’t let my tech skills stagnate for such a long period of time again.
@audioboo on the iPhone is great - no need to lug around the iPad. I think I’ll stick with the trusty F717 for snaps though.
Hopefully this process will also reduce my endless monthly stresses when it comes to the back ups of the back ups of the back ups.
Syncing the iPhone with my iMac will import all the content over, and then I will let Time Machine and my nightly Super Duper back up run in the background.
It all got me rather excited about the new school term ahead.
I hope that Boy Y appreciates all of this effort.
An afternoon of work shifts followed, and then a little audio editing for Metroknobbers from the night before.
Plus any fargo blog also appears incomplete these days unless I finish off with watching cricket, all being washed down with some booze.
Nu swimming trunks, same old body.
I'm actually amazed that my last pair of shreddies lasted so long. I bought them back in the summer of 2010, ahead of The Great Escape that was soon to become an even Greater Retreat.
Two for One; Will Swim, Have Trunks.
I'm sure I was making waves through the water at a greater pace some four summers ago.
Wednesday morning wasn't helped by the whirlpool. The roly poly ladies were doing their roly poly thing in the adjacent lane. There were only a dozen or so of the big boned aquatic Goddesses, but boy - they certainly do shift around a large mass of water.
At first I thought that it was just my slightly wonky swimming technique that was dragging me from left to right.
I then clocked a discarded plaster on the basin of the pool that was caught up in the mini-whirlpool.
Straight outta the pool and straight over to the M & S knitwear section.
Oh woe, what has become of me etc?
With the new term less than two weeks away, it was Back to School clothes shopping.
I had my collar felt by a very nice young man who confirmed my 15 and half inches masculinity. I politely declined the invitation of an inside leg measurement.
An afternoon and early evening of work shifts, and then it was time for #METROKNOBBERS with @darryl1974.
We're trying to keep these Transpontine podcasts to half an hour max. The trouble is that we both have an excess of content that we want to share each fortnight.
Darryl was on fine form. I was particularly impressed with his Greenwich / SLP scoop of a story. The best I could come up with was the continuing tale of the £15,000 Woman over in Knight's Hill.
Any ambition of editing and publishing the podcast was soon lost once the booze started to flow and the cricket was on Sky.
I love watching Notts.
Hometown team and all that, but any connection with the team has long since been lost. It's a relaxed way in which to enjoy the game, something that is now impossible to do when watching Surrey.
I do fear for my stress levels come T20 Finals Day on Saturday...
C'mon the 'rrey!
The best way to start the day - yet another complete BLANK from the True Blue silly arse of the Tory ex-Mayor.
She enjoys it really. It gives her something to do ahead of an afternoon of sucking on raw lemons.
And so four days away from the pool and it was time to put the lengths in once again.
It was all going swimmingly well until the appearance of the Incredible Kicking Man. His breast stroke style has alem leg reach that makes you wince. The Incredible Kicking Man can’t even contain his stroke within a single lane.
I got off lightly this time with just a few minor mishaps to my ribs.
The changing room soundtrack confusion continued. Sky News was reporting on developments in Iraq, the gym PA was pumping out Snap and The Power, plus the boxercise [URGH] babes were giving it some serious WOHS! from the room next door.
The lovely lido at 7am this most certainly wasn’t.
Mid-morning and I had to go and see a man about a pair of jeans. He happened to be over in Walton, and so I took the opportunity for a roll out there and back.
I was riding in yellow looking every bit the part after three days of pedaling on Le Tour de Norfolk.
The gravel around these Badlands appears to have bedded down quite well. The hellish Great Bentley run towards Thorpe is now a smooth passage. I actually ran out of gears on the ride in.
And so Walton bound, and did I tell you the one about the man who cycled all the way to the seaside just to buy a pair of jeans?
The punch line ends with him being asked:
"Are you a jazz dancer?"
The answer is NO, btw.
But yep, I am now the proud / poncey owner of a pair of 50’s thick denim PROPER jeans. I went for the boots and braces look - buttons along the waist to strap me up from the shoulders.
The kids back at school will rejoice in taking the piss.
Dexy’s and then Culture and Two Sevens Clash was the soundtrack for the afternoon shifts. A culture clash, if you will.
But it all worked.
Gotta play at least one roots tune each day to keep you SMILING.
Which then led to booze, and then drunken gardening.
A hesitant roll out for the final stage of Le Tour de Norfolk. It was one of those mornings where one moment I was kitted out in lycra, the next and I was back in my civvies.
To ride or not to ride?
To rain or not to rain?
I came here to ride, and so ride I will.
It is precisely this kind enthusiasm that enables me to wear my same wardrobe from over a decade ago. A wet bike is worth the sacrifice for a saved waistline and clothing budget.
It was a weird ride.
Not too far - 45km, down to somewhere instantly forgettable, and then a loop back up the other side.
I was one step behind the North Norfok micro showers that were hovering overhead.
I was riding on dry pavement, and then 100m down the road and there were puddles.
It meant that the bike got wet, even if I didn't.
Aren't all riders?
And so three days of riding and just under 200km. Happy with that.
I did something similar last year and took almost a week to revcover. Each of these rides for 2014 didn't quite push me hard enough.
I had a little extra to give, but the wet roads weren't up for receiving.
An afternoon coastline walk stretched out the remaining time, and then I headed for the train station early evening for a return to civilisation.
I rolled out shortly after 8am, with a weather forecast that was about as dull as my surroundings.
Still - at least it won't rain, according to Mr iPhone Weather Man.
It was overcast but weridly warm as I clicked into the cleats. I have no idea where I was going. A 'roughly west' route of 60km was plotted into the Garmin.
And so another day, another dead rabbit along the country lanes.
About half an hour in and the North Norfolk skies began to bruise. It didn't look good to be honest.
I dropped down a gear and continued for another couple of minutes. My shelter from the storm was a roadside hedge. I've had better rest points.
This was proper rain - the wet variety, as @surreycricket would probably say. I hate it, especially so when I'm with my road bike.
I tried to calculate how long it would take for the rain to stop, and then the time allowed for the road surface to become dry once again.
It looked like the hedge and I were going to become pals for at least the next couple of hours.
I became caught up in an uncomfortable conversation with a passing Norfolk farmer out walking his dogs.
I couldn't understand a word he was saying.
I made the tacticial decision to ride off once again, wet roads et al.
It actually soon dried out, wherever 'it' was.
'It' was all remarkably similar to the Stage 1 route that I had completed on Saturday.
Not the fastest of times, but then you'll never know as Strava is still stuck trying to upload the data from yesterday's ride.
Back at base and I walked to Cromer in the afternoon in the company of the Coffee Ponce of South London.
Sadly yer man @1607WestEgg wasn't actually with me, but I had some catch up time with his ACE Resonance podcasts.
This is the most original radio that is around. There really isn't anything else like it right now. It's remarkable how Danny can keep a half hour monologue going with such extreme professionalism.
I turned around at Cromer, and then walked back to Sheringham with South London Hardcore on the headphones.
The wind picked up along the empty beach. I hit a particularly bleak sandstorm. It was like a a scene out of Star Wars, except set in North Norfolk.
You'd need subtitles for that.
An early morning roll out on the first stage of Le Tour de Norfolk. My Garmin was well prepared for a roughy triangular route taking the country lanes down to Norwich, cutting across to Gawd knows where, and then back up along towards the North Norfolk coastal road.
Matching up with the Garmin was the recording of the route on my iPhone using Strava.
I managed the 93km in just over four hours - trust me.
The drip drop feed of the modern interweb connection out in these hyper rural areas means that the bloody GPX is still trying to upload, some eight hours later.
The ride itself was fine. I suprised myself with both my bike and body.
My bodge it mechanical work on the frame the week before seems to be standing up. I had a little more left in the legs come the final sprint.
My feed was only two bananas and no gel bars. It sets me up well for Stage 2 tomorrow.
There wasn't much worth to report during the actual ride itself. The country lanes were full of posters advertising Status Quo in some local village hall, and then a roadside caravan with an advert for a local tax return company.
I'd probably trust them with turnips, but not my taxes.
My favourite roadside sign came into view in the final few kms:
Slow You Down.
I think that it was written in Norfolkese.
Luncheon, and then I went out for a coastal walk.
I deliberately didn't take my camera with me. I quite enjoyed the experience of walking, without any expectation to photograph everything.
You couldn't move for Forest tops around Sheringham town centre. Nottingham-on-Sea has got to be better than a mid-August away up at Bolton.
I did the charity shop run, forgetting that the quality of clothing on offer matches the quality of the town in which they are being sold.
I'll stick to the Pimlico shops in future.
I was asked by one old boy serving behing a counter:
"Would you like to sponsor me?"
What are you doing, I asked.
"I'm being buried in the sand."
Thanks, but not thanks fella.
I missed Bell End in the cricket, and then wished that I had made the 50 mile cycle ride down to to Leiston to watch Dulwich away.
An evening stretch, and then early to bed ahead of Stage 2 on Sunday.
Another cloudbusting start to the day. The intention was to go for an early swim, but the blobs of rain descended a little earlier than the BBC website had suggested.
I’ve really been enjoying cycling on the road bike as my main ride of late whilst the MTB was being serviced. But have MTB, will travel.
I made the strategic decision to hit the Trail with Anna - a rarity in itself.
The cloudbusting soon turned to sunshine and my Putting the Lengths in mantra was vindicated.
The plodding up and down the pool itself was a little hit and miss. I was actually counting down the lengths, rather than my usual counting up.
There’s a subtle difference; one anticipates the end of the swim, the other looks ahead with anticipation as to what you can achieve.
Thirty lengths in and it all finally fell into place. I continued my experimentation with a variance on my stroke.
I’m not sure if I have the most majestic technique in the pool, or I simply look a ponce. I’ll stick with it for a while.
A morning gardening session followed, once again cloudbusting ahead of the very late BBC website expected downpour. Apples and passion fruit have started to appear. It makes a welcome change from the bloody raspberries.
I also cut down an overgrowing stem from the bamboo tree. In a masterstroke of sustainability twaddle, Anna immediatley went about converting it into a home made flute.
And then mid-morning was all about the arrival of the MacBook Air.
I haven’t had time to sit down and set it all up yet. I was too busy with the work shifts to pay for the bugger.
First thougts: it’s bloody small!
This is no bad thing. The main purpose is for working on the train during my back and forth Transpontine trips. It slips beautifully into the Brompton front bag.
It’s more of a netbook than a MacBook. I’m conidering taking it up to Norfolk for the weekend, if only the WiFi signal wasn’t so shite out in the sticks.
I hovered dangerously to entering another Prince period as the soundtrack for my work shifts. Once I get sucked in, I’m obsessive.
I started on Dirty Mind, and pulled out, so to speak just after Lovesexy.
I then went to wash my hands before firing up the MacBook Air.
We laughed at The 'Sex later in the evening and their absolute collapse against Notts at Lord's.
I may or may not have supported both of these teams at some stage in my cricketing bed-hopping back story...
Setting off on Le Tour de Norfolk tomorrow
A rare Lone Lane Ranger experience for the morning swim. Never underestimate the selfishness of the early morning swimmer.
I had the whole stretch of the fast lane to myself. I made the most of it by experimenting with my style.
The straight form of the body impacting the water horizontally has been refined. I’ve developed something of a rolling action of late.
It appears to speed up my lengths. It also takes up twice the space.
Straight outta the pool, and straight round to Mr Boom’s for a book launch.
Not quite, but we had a bit of an informal meeting about possible future plans.
The conversation was great, and so was Mr Boom’s garden. I left just over an hour or so later with definite green finger envy.
We rounded off the day watching the Essex Slappers.
I’m really enjoying the current reincarnation of the Sunday League / Pro 40 / London Cup whatever it is being sold as this season.
Fifty overs is PROPER short form cricket. You can dip in and out of a match, yet still feel involved.
I had various work shifts as the Slappers went into a mini-collapse, yet still managed to pick up the pieces when the work tools were finally downed for the evening.
A brief flirtation with some boozed up youtube Europop viewing is going to give me nightmares. The plan is for a pan-European approach to the Dulwich Hamlet songbook.
You try transporting Tarzan Boy down to Transpontonia.
Gegen recht, etc Comrades.
The best ideas always come during a swim. I arrived at the pool uninspired. I left with half a dozen decent ideas scribbled down on my notepad.
Now to find the time to implement them…
The ride back to base was far better than yesterday.
The pelaton of the local 40+ cycling group majestically passed me in the opposite direction. You can probably add on another score for the average age of the group.
There was classic cycling tops to match the classic frames.
I even had a “Chapeau!’ moment with the old boys.
I had a little breathing space mid-morning ahead of the work shifts. I whacked out some content on my about.me page, and then put in the redirect from the newly bought jasoncobb.co.uk.
It’s not perfect, but it will do for now.
I’m finding that I get most of my possible work leads via about.me of late. I’m not sure why; prior to the bodge job of this morning, the content was a little sparse.
It’s not even as though the magic Google juice pimps out jason+cobb to about.me. I quite like it as an online CV though.
And then work / cricket / booze in that order.
The mad cat was charming company all day.
I rolled out on the road bike for the first time this morning since my mechanical tinkerings of last week. I was slightly nervous, half expecting the frame to self combust.
I’m no bicycle mechanic. But needs must when you are running off a tight budget.
The cassette lockring on the rear wheel had become loose whilst out on a semi-serious ride. My quick fix involved loosening the brakes, removing the wheel, deflating the tyre, tightening up the lockring and then spending an hour os so putting it all back together again.
I’ve got another Tour de Norfolk planned for the weekend. I wanted to gently ease the road bike back into the routine ahead of the serious miles to come.
I took the not so scenic route towards the pool. A couple of mild climbs, and all seemed fine.
Just wait until I’m miles from any civilisation out in North Norfolk.
Closer to home and I almost came a cropper.
Some arsewipe of a motorist drove straight at me, attempting to overtake a bus that had pulled over. I had to act quick - decleat, and physically lift my road bike onto the pavement.
A queue of half a dozen other drivers had the common decency to wait behind the bus whilst passengers boarded. But this knobber decided to take over the opposite side of the road, the space that wasn’t his.
I signaled in his direction as I was left stranded on the pavement, and then gave a much more courteous gesture to the car drivers who had the common sense to wait.
I managed to calm down with a little route planning for Le Tour de Norfolk. The more obscure backroads, the better.
Elsewhere and it’s getting round to that time of year when the majority of my domains are in need of renewal. I went through a spending spree many years ago, buying up what I thought might be useful domains in years to come.
The nagging renewal emails started to arrive mid-morning.
I’m happy to let some slip through and make way for the Pr0n squatters. Others that I currently use obviously need renewing. And then there’s the shhh, hush hush ones that are simply online projects waiting to happen.
One thing that I did manage to achieve today was to gain control of jasoncobb.co.uk.
Some chancer from Colchester had bought it up, squatting on it for gawd knows what reason.
Nice try, fella.
I now have it back under control and have rather predictably pointed it towards my about.me page (which is in deperate need of a re-design btw…)
Gregory Porter kept me company for the afternoon shifts. What a man. What a voice. What a beard.
I’m two weeks into my current growth. I’m hoping that it will have a Samsung like quality that also gives me a Greogry style growl of a voice.
I finished off the day with some school planning. It seems like you’re wishing the days away when you find yourself diary planning for the summer term 2015.
But yep - my diary is now a paragon of school commitments.
Sunday saw the return of The Runner. I think I can remember how to do this.
It was the ideal weather for pounding the mean streets of SW4 - a slight breeze and some light drizzle. A King of Clap'ham Common PB was on the cards, but I was happy to just trot around.
Timing was everything. I arrived back at base just as the bottom end of Bertha blew into Sunny Stockwell.
Fifteen years ago and I would have had to wait until the following Friday for a small NIBS piece in the dear old SLP on Dulwich. And now there's the bloggy stuff, a podcast and an old school fanzine.
Changing times down at the Dulwich, changing times for the South London DIY Punk Rock Ethos.
Im not sure if it is the tech that has made all of this possible, or the resurgence of a proud old club that has somehow found itself caught up in something of an unexplained new fan phenomenon.
Perhaps it's just the perfect random collision of the two? Either way, it's a most welcoming self-fulfilling prophecy - a rarity indeed. The more you share Hamlet content online, the more interest it creates.
Forward ever, backwards never, Comrades.
When the rain eventually did finish road-testing the new roof in the flat, I went out for a photo walk.
I use to do these most Sundays. I really should get back in the habit.
I simply love the freedom of being on foot with camera and having no particular place in which to go. There's quite a buzz in shooting on the fly, taking a few risks and then swiftly moving on.
In recent months I've tried to put in place a personal photographic policy of not snapping at random people. It's too easy and it's just plain rude.
This has meant that I've been searching out instead buildings and locations that are perhaps positoned somewhere where I really shouldn't be.
I ended up walking roughly down Stockwell Road, through Brixton, up Railton Road and whaddya know: here be the lovely lido.
I saved my best snap until last, shot from the hip, on a camera phone as well.
This was the best lido swim of the season so far. The water has just about completed the cleansing process of all the kiddie piss. Even with bruising Transpontine skies, I could still see about half a length underwater.
I shared the lane with one other swimmer. The changing rooms were empty. It was delightful.
I walked back to SW8 roughly along the same route, although I took a different exit out of Brockwell Park.
I've not been along the Cold Water Lane side of Brockwell for a few years now. Nothing much had changed. There were some stunning cloud formations that made for a great photographic backdrop.
One final task for the day back in the flat:
This was my maiden short back and sides with the new toy. The temptation was there to carve out a huge penis. One slight snip however and they've got you by the goolies, so to speak.
I trimmed away with a rather conservative conventional cuboid shape.
I planted some flowers in the front garden of the flat. I've no idea what they are. Anna simply gave them to me with instructions to put in place some roots.
They have been transported from Essex down to South London.
Now there's a story for you.
I had a few errands to run around town. Brixton was... buzzing.
South London summers really are the best.
I had a short gap in-between domestic chores and Dulwich Hamlet for a brief lovely lido dip.
It was absolutely stunning.
There was very much an old school lido feel on Saturday afternoon. It reminded me of the late 90's lido life. London empties during the month of August, leaving a lido where there is room to breathe - and swim.
I've blogged before as to how this is my absolute favourite time down at the waters of Lake Brockwell. I recall Transpontine summers where Saturday afternoons have a definite South London chill.
This afternoon was a resurrection of that feeling.
I only had time for twelve lengths. The water felt rich as I cut my way through it.
I don't think that this was down to the kiddie piss.
Next stop: Dulwich.
The pre-season has been a painful one. The climax in which Dulwich ended the last campaign has led to a tremendous anticipation for what is to come.
It's not so much the delightful football down at Champion Hill, but the unexplainable phenomenon of what is happening behind the goal.
Saturday was a bit of a slow burner, but The Rabble soon got warmed up.
I'll bash out a photo piece for Brixton Buzz in the morning, but the spoiler is Dulwich 3, Harrow 2.
In true Crap Match Report tradition, we left the ground half-thinking that it was Dulwich 3, Harrow 3.
I smiled an awful lot.
I climbed Dog Kennel Hill on the Raleigh 20 en route back to Sunny Stockwell.
That was tough.
In seasons gone by I have effortlessly reached the peak on a fixie. I blame it on the Raleigh 20 tyre pressure.
Cruising down to Camberwell at the peak of the climb was the reward.
And then early Saturday evening and the shout went out of:
"To Maze Hill!"
The occasion of @Darryl1974's 40th was worth the trip out to the South East. I was actually rather impressed with the journey time - 40 mins max from Stockwell with the Northern Line to Ldn Bridge, and then a mainline out east.
Booze flowed, blogs were dissected.
An ACE end to an even better day.
Seen that Transpontine weather forecast for tomorrow?
Who fancies a King of Clap'ham run?
A tired, tired early morning swim.
Even the bicycle ride in was sluggish. I came close to turning around before I even arrived at the pool.
Water bound and I suffered from Shit Goggle Syndrome. I’ve tried everything, but they still take in more water than they keep out.
I’m tempted to go down the @mutley69 route of blinged up swimming goggles.
And so forty lengths, thanks but no thanks.
Some Duran Duran shit was being pumped out of the speakers in the changing rooms. This is one of my swimming woes. Why do pools feel the need to pump out crap whilst you are toweling yourself down? What does it add to the experience?
The irony of the self-confessed poolside porn star blow drying his hair to the soundtrack of Rio didn’t go unnoticed.
Lido Days tomorrow, Comrades
A ROCK ’N’ ROLL morning of gardening followed.
A rolling stone gathers no moss etc, but scraping away between the patio gaps is my least favourite green fingered activity.
The four-fer with @RobertElms was fantastic. It was Weller solo period, not my prefered time period from yer man.
But yeah - he’s still bloody ACE.
What was quite revealing was that all four choices were from females.
Sunflower, You Do Something to Me, Dragonfly and Wildwood to wind things up.
High tide, mid afternoon,
People fly by, in the traffic boom.
The early Weller solo period is perfect for hot summer afternoons. I downed tools, turned up the headphones and simply smiled for half an hour.
Work shifts, football and ironing all followed.
The CRAZY world of rock 'n' Roll etc.
There was a flipping cheater in the fast lane for the morning swim. The middle-aged fella got in just after me, but soon started to double up on my ‘energetic’ speed.
Something wasn’t right.
He had the body of wimp, yet the swimming speed of an Olympic athlete.
The flipping cheater was wearing flippers. I cursed his approach to a leisurely swim, and hoped that he would develop ankles the size of cow pats.
In Hedgetrimmer News: I bought a hedgetrimmer today.
That nice old Porto fella who use to trim our side of the hedge is sadly no longer around. The flats next door are rented out at such an over-inflated price that a hedgetrimmer is probably low down on the list of priorities.
I’m rather excited about starting with the first trim.
I clocked a Moulton Speed on the cycle back to base. I almost crashed on my MTB, such was the wonderment of seeing an old fella effortlessly rolling along on one of the most gracious bicycles ever manufactured.
The spending continued. A rather hefty weighted work discount scheme led me to finally giving in and buying a new MacBook Air.
I’ve been operating off my 2007 10.5.8 (!) model with no real complications up until recently. My ethos for all tech is to maintain it until it gives up maintaining you.
Everything is backed up; it has been filling my tech needs as a semi-powerful mobile machine for on the road work and play requirements.
But over the past few weeks the standards have started to slip. The software is simply too powerful for the hardware. I have calculated that I am running at about 40% of my capacity, due to various functionality issues.
So yeah - the work discount scheme led me to buying a new MacBook Air late in the day.
Oh the irony of a work-subsidised scheme that means that I will need to take on extra work shifts in order to pay for it.
It will certainly mean a different approach to the way that I process the content that I produce. I haven’t changed my video, audio or image editing techniques since around 2010.
Outdated versions of iMovie, Audacity and Photoshop perform the tasks that I want them to.
I quite like the excitement of finding new ways of working, but I just want to get up and running and carry on doing the twaddle that I do.
Which for Thursday afternoon and evening was... work.
Pay to play.
A morning spent cloudbusting and waiting for the downpour to pass over.
It never did of course.
I simply refuse to ride out in the rain. It's no good for my bikes and it's no fun. Running is a different matter however.
I made the decision ahead of the work shifts to go for a trot. I was all laced up and ready to pound the mean streets when the drizzle became yet another downpour.
The pounding of my feet soon became the tapping on the keyboard. I bashed out a quartet of hit and miss Brixton Buzz stories instead.
Eventually I managed to make it outside. This was my first run in around a month or so.
I was convinced that the calves would seize up, or the knackered knee would snap.
It was a steady pace, and also painfully sticky. I timed it so that the rain was just starting to evaporate off the pavements as the humid weather took hold.
I'm on the same work shift patterns all week this week - a rarity indeed. I usually quite like the randomness of unpredictability.
But while there is a lot of other stuff taking place here and there, a little bit of routine is good.
I downed tools just after 8, and then settled down for the final 10 overs or so of the cricket.
I'm really enjoying the return to the 50 over format for the domestic teams. There's sufficient time to play around with your tactics, yet there almost always seems to be a tense finish.
A man of routine - more of the same tomorrow.