An 8am work shift, so no time for a swim. No worries - I’ll do a runner instead.
It’s not a great time to be pounding the mean streets of C07 to be honest. The one road in, one road out (sorta) infrastructure means that the car commuters are speeding past you as you try and pace yourself.
I’m not obsessive about running splits, but I was pleased with my data from Tuesday morning.
Just under 42 minutes for the 8.1km run. A PB - well, a PB ever since I started to record this route.
A completely random work fact: I had the need to do some research on Birmingham City Council first thing. I was astonished to find that the council chamber is made up of 120 Cllrs.
ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY!
How does that even work?
Imagine the intrigue as the external and internal party splits start to take shape. Plus oh woe the life of a whip.
Betcha it makes hyperlocal blogging good fun…
Mad cat flea treatment and bicycle servicing arrangements then broke up the working morning. One had superb customer service, whilst the other was piss poor.
Take yer guesses as to who was YAY, and who was NAY.
Work was WOH.
Systems and about systems about systems.
Plus process and protocol.
I hate it when various tech tools force you to upgrade. It’s all about efficiency. I calculated that I lost around 45 minutes over the luncheon period, simply through being pushed to one side with no other tech solution than to upgrade to a tool, which will swallow up more of my already hard pushed CPU time.
Thank heavens for Sexual Healing which brought a smile and a slight foot shuffle throughout the whole process.
Full on work shifts through until early evening, and then football.
I dozed off during the second half…
If you sleep with dogs then you will catch fleas. Or even if you sleep with a cat.
Naughty Murphie, naughty girl.
So yeah, the mad cat has fleas. This was confirmed when we saw the small eggs starting to appear around the house. Plus the sight of one of the blood suckers jumping out from her fur and on to my best Brixton Cycles lycra top.
And so an early morning of frantic cleaning and hoovering every inch of the house.
Murphie slept through it all.
The current slight Spandau fixation continued throughout the morning. I got bored with the Late Junction excessive jazz. I dared to venture to Once More, and the dark territory of the comeback album.
But this is simply some reworkings of old Spandau songs. It’s really quite good.
Track such as To Cut a Long Story and Musclebound are great songs, but the original New Romantic pretensions haven’t really stood the test of time.
Once More adds a… contemporary theme.
I found myself singing away to try and scare away the fleas.
And then work.
Knackered, but all good
A day of cycling. Possibly too much cycling, if that is ever possible.
Anna and I rolled out early with the other sportive riders on the Colchester CTC 100. As the name suggests, 100km was plotted into the route map.
Add in the short spin from home to the signing on point, plus a little detour when the Garmin decided to send us down a private road, and you have 117km.
It wasn't the longest ride of the summer for me, but it was probably about 40km or so over my threshold for not becoming a mardy arse.
I think that Anna cracked after the first 50km.
We rolled out around ten minutes behind the peloton.
"We'll soon catch them"
...I enthusiastically declared as I took my time on the front.
About 40km in and we hadn't passed a single rider.
We actually thought for a short while that we were riding the Garmin route in reverse, such was our perceived speed, yet oddly no other riders.
And then we made the junction and landed the catch of a mini-peloton of hardcore lycra lads.
I was feeling particularly strong and put my foot down hard on the pedals. I was leading the group for around ten minutes, thinking that they had tucked behind my back wheel as a sign of respect.
It turns out that they had been lost all morning and just wanted to follow a rider that had a reliable GPX route.
Bugger this for a Sunday morning. I 'aint nobody's domestique, especially not for the lard arse lycra lad who thought that it was extra hard to ride within cm's of my rear wheel.
I deliberately slowed down the pack, and then waited for them to feel impatient and jump ahead.
And then there were two once again.
We hit the mid-way point and stopped for luncheon at the simply delightful Finchingfield. Last time we rode through here there was some other bicycle race taking place...
That truly wonderful July day when Le Tour passed through Essex will always be associated with Finchingfield.
I hate to say... legacy, but it does seem that something of a cycling culture is springing up in the town.
We pressed on for the final stretch, weary that the CTC 100 3pm cut off point was starting to come alarmingly close.
The last hour or so in the saddle was particularly painful.
We both has a WTF moment as we cycled past some rural field with a major sporting event taking place: The Essex Ploughing Championships.
Around two dozen tractors were competing. Anyone know what the offside rule is?
With around five miles remaining we realised that we wouldn't complete the sportive within the set time limit. I'm not entirely sure how this happened. We both felt that we put in a good performance and tried to keep up a decent pace.
The final drag back up Boundary Road and back to base was a little demoralising.
An evening of recuperation / publishing SW9 content from Friday filled up Sunday evening.
Monday looks like being a stiff one.
A morning of ups and downs on the Wifey Weekend Roll Out.
Anna took me from behind on the climbs, and then I powered past her on the time trial stretches. Lycra bottoms have never looked so good.
Mechanical issues troubled us at the midway point. Anna had a comical cleat collapse whilst stationary. The humour soon fell flat when we realised that her crank wasn't shifting.
I was hot and sweaty and in no mood for my bodge mechanics.
I pretended to know what I was doing, removing the chain (WHY?!) and then when this failed, I took out the entire front wheel.
Still no rotation joy.
I know what: let's pull out the skewer, and then place it back through the hub once again.
It was the bicycle equivalent of Ctrl + Alt + Del.
Somehow it bloody worked.
We slowed down slightly for the run in back to base. I made a mental note to buy Anna a complete bicycle service for her birthday that is coming up.
We stopped off for a freshen up and quick swim at the pool. The first twenty lengths or so were swum in synch with one another. I was panting slightly, but kept up my best race face, even when underwater.
Anna then faked a pulled muscle and stopped mid-length.
I had no mechanical bodge job to offer up.
The water itself was a little weird. It's not the deepest of pools at the best of times, but there was around a foot or so missing.
I occasionally have this recurring dream where I'm swimming along quite happily, and then all of a sudden the plug is pooled and I'm left trying to put in the lengths in an empty pool.
A variation on this is that the water thickens up during the swim, and I'm left trying to crawl through treacle.
Funny folk, swimmers.
I headed into town straight after the swim for the sole purpose of an Aldi binge. The cycling sale was simply ACE.
I had to restrain my spending urge, but I did leave with two pairs of winter cycling gloves and a rather nice pair of winter lycra trousers.
The nearby army surplus shop is also always worth a look. A pair of long Johns for the months ahead was another wise purchase.
I braved the dizzy heights of the scaffolding after luncheon. The builders are doing a brilliant job, but we seem to have gutters full of cement. I quite enjoyed myself up there picking it all out. I did fret though that my finger nails were getting dirty. I fear that manual labour is not for me.
And then the afternoon was all about football.
I watched the Merseyside Derby filling in for Anna and updating her over her blue nose team; then cycled off to watch PROPER football at Wivenhoe Town, before legging it back to base for the North London derby.
The local action was of course the most enjoyable, even then though it was a no score draw.
Brilliant estuary sunshine on your face and some comical refereeing.
I strayed slightly into work mode later in the evening. I've been trying to come up with a solution for sharing the 10,000 SE17 work images that I have snapped away at over the best part of the last decade.
I'm still processing them all into my new internal system. I need to find a way of publishing them online but with limited online access - e.g. staff.
I've been looking around over the past few months at CMS that could handle such a huge overload of data, as well as having a system of sorting and tagging.
It all seems like a lot of effort for probably not much reward.
And then as I was uploading the Wivenhoe Town pics to flickr, the solution flashed up.
I can create a work account, make it closed and then only offer access to certain people. Flickr handles all the meta data, making each image searchable.
Happy with that.
We're rolling out on the Colchester CTC 100 tomorrow morning. Big bike rides are meant for big ideas.
Betcha Anna gets a bloody mechanical again.
A most graceful start to Friday. Well I thought so anyway.
My movements through the tepid waters of Lake Brockwell took on a dance like form. I was elegant, making the all important body to water impact with the least amount of friction.
Swimming has never felt this good.
Maybe that's just the lovely lido Friday feeling when all around you are behaving slightly BONKERS?
I departed the waters to an emerging red sky illuminating the park.
It was poetic.
I sat poolside for a few moments to compose my prose. I was interrupted by the sight of @mutley69 and some dry diving practise.
What a fella! If you thought that my ballerina-esque beautiful swimming routine was elegant, then you should watch the way that he cuts through the water with a dry dive.
I was invited to join in, but I've had a few shreddie malfunctions of late with my Speedos slipping down a rung each time I attempt a dive.
Time and tide as ever cut short all of this lido high jinx. I cycled back through Brixton, Sunny Stockwell bound for a day at the always entertaining SW9 school.
As ever, I'm not quite sure where the school day went. It started with an ACE What a Wonderful Word rendition during the singing and signing assembly. It ended with composing an email to a fictional farmer to thank her for showing us how to milk the cows.
Stick that, corporate types.
Back in the estuary wilds and I arrived to find fleas.
I did comment to Anna earlier in the week that the mad cat has been scratch mental, even more so than usual.
She didn't catch them off me, by the way.
We watched Robinson in Space for the second consecutive Friday to round off the working week.
Those boys don't half get around.
A return to Transpontonia for a weekend of work.
This was the first roll out with my new Brompton set up - a front carrying bag, and then the cheapo Taiwan import of a rear bag.
My tech bag was simply getting too big. Too many work toys to carry around, plus the odd wetsuit or two. And so I upgraded with a rear bag.
I then I went and scaled down my way of working and ditched half the tools in the tech bag.
Still, it was nice to cycle over all the potholes on the London Bridge to Elephant stretch without the constant worry of losing a spoke under the sheer weight of the front carrier.
I did afford myself a slight chuckle when I saw a lycra lad doing the classic stationary cleat fall at some lights just outside of Borough.
No worries, fella. We've all been there before.
And then a busy, busy SE17 day.
This was the first time that I met the new Nursery starters. They were of course absolutely delightful. They even volunteered to sing a Cantonese version of Twinkle, Twinkle just for my video camera.
Other highlights included a thoughtful Year 5 Rosh Hashanah assembly. I love the way that the very thoughtful Y5 teacher always adds in some drama to these assemblies to put the message across.
A very decent lunchtime catch up with a very decent old friend. We rarely get these opportunities in a school environment as everyone is running around ahead trying to keep on top of the timetable.
Tech wise and it was all wonderful. I can't believe that I persisted with such dated ways of working for so long.
GIMP did the business for me with the images. Photoshop Lite it may be, but it's good to scale down and de-clutter your processes.
My iPhone battery just about lasted the day after some industrial usage recording video and audio.
I was in need of a wind down on leaving SE17 - and whaddya know, I had just the right location in mind.
The lovely lido is ACE at this time of year. The summer crowds have long since swam off elsewhere, taking the sun cream stained water along with them. The water temperature is back down to a more pleasing 16.9 degrees. I long for single figures once again
Twelve lengths gave me the kick that I needed. I started to finish off my lengths once again, rather than just drift the last couple of metres or so. Being stationary for too long in this temperature starts to take its toll.
It was great to see the familiar face (and incredibly muscular body) of Casey swimming in the adjacent lane. This could have been any beautiful Brockwell moment from the past two decades.
And then it was back to Sunny Stockwell for some moonlight gardening. The cheapo Lidl lavenders are performing rather well. We'll be rivalling Vauxhall Park by this time next year.
Same again tomorrow.
Some mornings are meant for running. You have an excess of energy in your legs waiting to be released, and you long for the freedom of an open run in which to gather your thoughts ahead of the working day.
Or perhaps you just wake up, observe the damp conditions and think I'll be buggered if I'm taking my Brompton out, all for a bloody swim in a restricted swimming space.
And so a run it was on Wednesday morning.
No variance in route - or pace. I'm still at the slightly tender coming back from injury phase, although which particular injury, I'm not quite sure.
I seem to have been crocked for the past decade.
I'm building up to the estuary exploration 15km of a route. But not on a Wednesday morning...
Worldwide All Winners was the rather wonderful working soundtrack. That and some industrial beats from the builders who started work round at the back.
I half-heartedly watched Forest whilst tapping away myself in the evening. Away games down at Spuz use to be a regular highlight back in the day. Des Walker Vs Gary Linker became something of a titanic struggle.
I recognised one Forest player on show at the Lane this evening. I even denied this knowledge when the full time whistle was blown.
A busy old day over in Transpontonia awaits for tomorrow.
Take Two for the scaffolding ERECTION on Tuesday morning. An 8am start, and then come mid-afternoon and it was all standing to attention. All we need now is a team of builders…
I had told Anna to stay well clear of it and leave it the experts. I couldn’t resist a cheeky climb though to admire the view.
My vertigo set in about ten metres up. I realised that I am best suited chained to the desk, and not the world of DIY.
Speaking of which - works shifts, and then more of the same. I was working across a number of different clients today. The variety is good, but the different policies and peculiarities for each company can be confusing.
I spent the early evening trying to get my head around GIMP. Having been a heavy Photoshop user for the past decade, the arrival of the new MacBook Air was the signal for a switch.
There’s no way I’m paying for an Adobe subscription just so that I can carry out some rather basic batch commands on a given photo set.
GIMP would see me right.
What a bloody beast. I came close to quitting and going in search of a Warez version of Photoshop. Plus the online documentation for GIMP is appalling - although this is nothing new when it comes to open source software.
And then finally I cracked it - GIMP, not the Warez.
I found a batch manipulation plugin that will allow me to sharpen, set the auto-levels and re-size at the stroke of a command.
I tested the efficiency of the colour saturation on a number of recent work photos. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
So now that’s video and images sorted when it comes to streamlining my online way of working. I’ve calculated that I’ve saved myself around an hour for each set of 30 or so snaps that I would have manually processed with Photoshop. Letting go of the individual control is the price that you pay for efficient productivity.
I had a few edits to make to some school sites later in the evening. The staff lists were in need of some unexpected changes.
It was all very mechanical, but you simply can’t delete the contribution of some staff members with a simple online deletion.
Tuesday came to a close with a sudden desire to play The Coral. The first album remains magical. You can’t go wrong with a day that starts off with scaffolding, and ends with a sea shanty.
Oh the folly of the fast lane. Four abreast for the morning swim, all walking, all talking.
What is this? Light recreation?
I waited poolside for a body bypass. As soon as a gap became available, I was water bound and on a power swim.
The arms were a little wild, but the legs anchored it together. An angry swim every morning ‘aint great; it’s good to occasionally release the fast lane folly through the art form of front crawl though.
Back in the changing rooms and the mood wasn’t exactly lifted by the music. A tinny speaker screeched out the already tinny vocals from M People; the aerobic boys and girls were WHOOPING it in the studio next door, and bloody Ed Balls was on the changing room TV auditioning to become a right wing Tory.
I’ve had better starts to the day.
A day of work shifts from home followed whilst waiting for the scaffolding man to arrive. Nothing was erected by the end of the day.
I had a strange Spandau fixation after Gary Kemp and Steve Norman were guests with yer man Robert Elms. I wouldn’t quite say that I’m ready for a reappraisal, but I am looking forward to the new film.
We published another fireworks story over on Brixton Buzz later in the day. The more this story unravels then the more farcical it becomes.
METROKNOBBERS was edited and published later in the evening. A little lengthy, but Darryl and I had a lot to catch up on.
The Forest phone in, football and a spot of Photoshop exploration finished off the happy Monday.
A functional yet fleeting morning ride with Anna. We’re in training (ha!) for the Colchester CTC 100 that rolls out next weekend.
This morning we managed 25km.
The legs had a lot more in them, but the roads didn’t. The usual Essex lanes route was cut short due to the roads still being slippery when wet.
In Better Bike News: I think that I managed a bodge for my ongoing gear issues en route. Turns out that the gear shifter for the chainring was stuck in No Man’s Land.
I’ve spent the past month or so trying to index the gears. The problem all along was rider incompetence.
We then had plans for a whole day of gardening chores.
But bugger to that.
Any excuse for a stroll, and they don’t come any stronger than the promise of the village Sale Trail.
I think that you were suppose to buy a map, and then wander around the various front gardens that were flogging artisan reclaimed goods / tat.
We did a brief loop of the village, had a few decent conversations and then decided that we could delay the gardening no more.
It’s been more of a day of hacking than horticulture to be honest. The scaffolding and the builders arrive tomorrow. The big creepy creeper thing that covers half the house had to be chopped.
I actually quite enjoy the toil of destruction. I hacked it down within half an hour, and then spent the rest of the day clearing it all up.
To my surprise, some sort of bird flew out just as one of the creepy creeper branches came a tumbling down. There was no sign of a nest, but a second young bird was just sitting there in the debris.
Anna identified it a baby wood pigeon.
A passing bird type advised that we should re-house it somewhere close, and then the mother will hear the cries and return to feed it.
And so straight outta the creepy creeper thing, and an upgrade into the wisteria.
Late afternoon and the gardening was done and so I managed a quick swim. It was more of a chance to get cleaned up to be honest.
Disclaimer: I always shower first before putting in the lengths - except when I’m dry diving down at Lake Brockwell…
I cycled back along the Trail on what was a simply stunning glorious early autumn afternoon. New students were arriving in the Quays accommodation, taking their first look around the estuary landscape.
I remembered how this golden late September use to remind me of my first few weeks as an Essex undergraduate.
Something shifted however once we were South London bound. The summer months for me are now defined by the cricket, le velo and the lovely lido.
One by one they finally draw their last gasp of air from the summer calendar, and before you know it, Bonfire Night is upon us.
I now view this time of year as late summer, and not early autumn. But with le velo and the lovely lido increasingly stretching those definitions of summer, I seem to be living out a continual Transpontine summer existence.
I arrived back at base, basking in the glow of a swim and the late afternoon sun. I had a decent chat with the neighbour about the imminent arrival of the builders tomorrow morning.
Out of the corner of my eye I clocked the neighbour’s cat sitting on our window ledge next to the wisteria.
He had a smug look, as well as a full belly.
“Ah, the cat looks happy” I probed.
“Yes, he’s had a fun afternoon pulling a wood pigeon apart” came the reply.
I can think of better birds to become upset over the death of, but my involvement in the massacre did play upon my mind for the rest of the evening.
Our Murphie slept through it all. If it’s not a leaf then she’s not interested in going for the kill.
I should have put her to work on the creepy creeper thing.
A splendid weekend in the country.
An estuary downpour derailed the planned early morning ride.
Mid-morning and we went to the Farmer's Market for the first time in what seems like an age. I'm usually back in Transpontonia when it takes place each month.
Some veg, MEAT and Colne Valley soap were all snaffled up.
The soap is amazing. It seems to last at least six months. Or maybe that's just my personal hygiene routine?
I had a lane to myself in the pool. Until Wifey gatecrashed.
The first swim since the start of the week. It took a while to find my rhythm, but I was rocking come the final few lengths.
Luncheon was taken up watching the cricket. I couldn't believe the score that Warwickshire were skittled out for when I first looked; the horlicks that Durham made of the run chase also raised some eyebrows later in the day.
And then it was all about the Brightlingsea BOOZE walk.
The bushes were heavy with fruit. Anna was occupied in filling tuppaware en route with the delights of Mother Nature. I was on photo duty.
There was a heavy estuary mist engulfing all around, even at around 3pm. It was slightly eerie, yet utterly tranquil.
I did unleash a FUCK YEAH out into the country landscape when I checked the #dhfc score.
And so a delayed arrival in Brightlingsea, with a rucksack full of rosehips and an SD card full of snaps.
We had time for a couple of pints of Colchester Pale Ale in the always excellent Railway, before the bus back to base honked at us from across the road.
Further cricket finished the evening with the Champions League over on Eurosport.
Cycling, garden hacking and #METROKNOBBERS for Sunday.
The free flowing mucus from my nasal passage still wasn't quite ready to inflict itself on the early morning swimmers.
And so a Friday morning run instead.
I felt strong, and could have continued for another fifteen minutes or so.
It occurred to me at the halfway point that this was the exact same route that I first started to run some 24 years ago to the day.
It's not a sprint, it's a marathon etc.
And then a spot more image editing back at base. I’ve taken a bold decision: bugger Photoshop.
Well, not quite.
As part of my new ways of working (i.e. getting offline and getting out) I’m trying to scale back the time it takes me to achieve anything online.
Video and audio have both been streamlined. The beast that is image editing is in drastic need of addressing.
I can spend an entire train journey from South London back to the estuary wilds just editing two dozen or so photos captured during the school day. This needs to change.
I don’t even execute an awful lot of extra commands - a spot of sharpening, adjusting of the levels, cropping and possibly making some wonky lines a little straighter. Plus plenty of re-sizing.
I have been batch editing for some of these commands, but not all. The photo perfectionist within (ha!) just won’t let go.
I spent Friday morning setting up a PS script that will sharpen, adjust levels and re-size with the swipe of a command. It’s not perfect, but it is a compromise worth paying as my work takes on increasing numbers of images that need to be processed.
I’ll probably stick with the individual file editing for m’photoblog, but everything else has to be scaled back.
It was quite an emancipatory moment.
So that’s video, audio and images sorted. Anyone know a short cut to bashing out 2,000 words on school curriculum activities that won’t take half the morning?
Elsewhere and the #LateJunction working morning was a little too… jazz for my liking. It does aid productivity rather well though.
Out with the old, in with the Nu Jazz. Gilles Peterson brought as smile to my face for the afternoon shifts and a Funky Friday feel.
I was stuck indoors all afternoon on work shifts, just as the earlier estuary rain was evaporating with a hot, sticky afternoon evolving. Perfect for putting in the miles.
Tools downed at 7pm, and then it was too dark to ride.
We plan to make up for it over the weekend with a couple of serious Rides of the Falling Leaves.
A brief Quayside walk instead, and then all back to mine for Robinson in Space.
Another morning away from the water. The sneezing fit has now become a chesty cough. I have enough issues in alternating my swimming breathing technique with a fully fit body.
And so an early morning walk in the garden instead.
Phew, rock ’n’ roll etc.
I picked as many tomatoes as I could carry. I’ve yet to reach the peak tom tom stage, as was the case mid-summer with the bloody raspberries. Slow cooked tomatoes served with parmesan is a current fave.
A little bit of admin, a little bit of photo editing.
And then I settled down for the afternoon shifts.
I accidentally listened to Richard Bacon on 5Live, not something that I would normally do.
No worries. By pure chance one of his guests was Bernard Sumner. It was uneasy, but rewarding listening.
Bernard sounded a little unsure at first, not helped by Bacon’s interview technique of making the conversation all about himself.
Rather clumsily he was cornered into talking about Ian Curtis. Without prompt, this then became incredibly personal. It was compulsive, yet painful listening.
There wasn’t a happy ending either, with the interview wrapping up with what appears to be the end of the Peter Hook relationship.
New Order are one of the few bands that I obsess over at random periods. I haven’t played anything in probably over five years, weary of how the various factions are currently treading water.
I turned off 5Live and immediately fired up Low Life, my favourite New Order album.
It sounded absolutely ACE, albeit a little tinny through my digital set up, rather than the rich analogue system from back in the day.
Fresh, rhythmic and full of ideas.
A bit like me after my late afternoon bicycle ride…
I finally caught up with the Tour of GB London highlights later in the evening, and then settled down to watch Jens Voigt put himself through hell at le velo.
What a man!
A missed swimming morning. I woke up drowning in bogies rather than blue water. Not nice for any others swimmers.
My days never feel complete if I miss a morning in the water. I took an extra long shower to compensate.
The Brixton Buzz scoop on the Brockwell Park fireworks was published early morning. I kinda get the need for Lambeth Council to charge for the display for the time time. It’s a little mean though to position the fireworks in the park so that they are only visible to the £7 ticket holders.
No surprises that a ‘few legal exchanges’ then took place. I don’t find it very transparent when #localgov sends out a policy document to selected local groups asking for comment. You then share this, and all of a sudden copyright is claimed by the Comrades.
We were threatened with legal action unless we removed a document that was inviting feedback. We were also advised that if we wanted to see the document (which we already had a copy of…) then we would have to submit an FoI.
This request was then duly slapped in, all at at a cost of course to service the FoI.
We did get a nice slight reprise out of the story later in the day when the fragrant Dame Tessa Jowell has a pop at Boris for charging for fireworks.
I then spent most of the morning publishing Turney content from Monday. My new ways of working for the school year is throwing up some pleasant surprises. A slight site redesign, and all of a sudden I’ve got more space to play around with for headlines.
I had a slight issue with Wordpress forcing a link to any original image that I uploaded via the Media Library. I don’t want this. I just want a static image, as is the case with the old ftp way of working.
A bit of hacking around here and there and it was removed.
An afternoon of work shifts followed. The plan was to spend it in the company of @surreycricket.
But come 3:30pm on Day 3 of a Championship match and it was stumps.
Winter well. Winter well…
Back from Transpontonia to find a new (ish) shed and some new decking.
Well I never.
I celebrated by giving the old garden bench a good scrub.
Phew. Rock ’n’ roll, etc
I re-homed a spider first thing on Tuesday morning. Not intentionally - the eight-legged friend was an unexpected guest sitting on the handlebars of my MTB as I cycled off to the pool.
And so one end of the Trail down to the other. If only human home manouvres were so simple.
It was a so so swim. The onset of an autumnal lido cold is catching up on me.
Oh woe is me, etc.
Six solid hours of work shifts followed, just as the estuary Indian Summer started to infiltrate the office.
It’s all good. It buys time to play later in the week.
I got round to publishing the content from Friday at Lansdowne later in the evening.
And then bashed out what is a bloody good Brixton Buzz scoop that is being published tomorrow morning.
Fireworks up their arse, etc.
A camp start to Monday in the changing rooms of the lovely lido. The world would be a better place if the start of every working week witnessed such gay abandon.
The 8:30am conversation somehow stumbled on The Floaters and Float On. This was the cue for the happy campers in the gents to perform a Brockwell Icicles cover version.
Pisces. And my name is Jase. I like a woman / man / whatever that can double dip with me after a dry diving session.
My contribution was perhaps the more refined.
The swim itself was short but functional.
Straight outta the pool and straight into a Monday morning singing and signing assembly over in SE21. A round robin rendition of Frere Jacques soon saw off my Lake Brockwell shivers.
And then a bit of a mad day running around, playing with the ACE kids and collecting as much content as possible.
I had the usual online jitters when the school website was pulled up in front of some rather important people.
Yep. Still there.
I wasted around 15 minutes in the day remembering how to use XP.
A day of publishing awaits for Tuesday.
Float on, float on.
Dark skies for the first time this weekend down at the lovely lido. The water still managed to find some South London sunshine as the reflections danced along the basin of the pool.
Only a short dip, with ambitious plans scheduled in for the rest of the day. I did a power swim of twelve lengths, and then hung around for a few social catch ups.
@oneeyegrey and I witnessed the sad sight of a pigeon mutilation down by the deep end.
A couple of crows (I think?) corned the hapless pigeon and set about pecking his eyes out.
I had no idea that this lack of brotherhood existed in the feathery kingdom.
Yer man and I were feeling a little helpless. We thought about intervention, but it was too late.
A lido lifeguard was at hand to investigate.
He kicked the pigeon.
Yep. That's a dead pigeon.
I could think of worst places in which to draw your last breath.
I cycled the short distance from the lido to le velo. The occasion was the Dave Creasy 6 - a memorial meet to remember the legendary Keeper of the Keys down at Herne Hill.
It was fantastic.
The style of the meet was very much of a Belgium classic: continental beers, Madison slingshots and cheesy Europop.
Plus the BONKERS bicycle jumble sale. I came away with a ridiculous looking pair of over shoes for the winter months on the road ahead.
I left around luncheon and made my way back over to Brixton. The now annual Brixton Bolt running race was on my Brixton Buzz radar.
Not a massive crowd, but this was an ACE local event with the old and Nu Brixton showing that things can work out together if you add a little fun into the occasion.
There was some VERY SERIOUS male athletes.
I left South London and cycled up to Tower Hill to catch the closing stages of the Tour of GB. I knew that I would miss the time trial, but stuck around for the ten lap sprint.
I had plans to see what it was like over in Westminster, but the Tower Hill vantage point proved too good to give up.
And then an evening of school work.
Back in SE21 tomorrow...
I managed to lug my aching limbs around Brockwell Park for my first @bwparkrun in a couple of months. The intention was just to get round. I actually rather enjoyed it.
Joining me for the majority of the 5km was a 12-13 year-old yoof. I have long since accepted that my best running years are well behind meith but to be taken on the climbs of Brockwell by a teenager..?
His running style was raw, but he had plenty of talent. There was one minute bursts of absolute sprinting, followed by a minute of walking to recover. No consistency, but that will come.
I met up with Madam Pacemaker at the finish line.
Obviously not doing her job...
The Brockwell Icicles provided me with some procrastination time ahead of the post-run recovery in the lovely lido. The weekend cake offering looked delightful, but had to be turned down.
Only 12 lengths of the waters of Lake Brockwell this morning. I was joined by Marcus, also putting in a light swim ahead of his 10km swimming race tomorrow.
Not much else to observe in the pool, apart from a WEIRD swimming technique from one of the rubber clad Windrush Triathlon members.
It was a hybrid of breaststroke and a front crawl. The front did the breastroke action, whilst the legs kicked away from behind.
I wouldn't fancy attempting that technique for 10km in the water.
Some household duties back at base, and then I made the short walk over to Larkhall Park for the ACE Stockwell Festival.
This remains pretty much the same as it did some fifteen years ago. Long may it continue.
As the name suggests, it's a very local affair. The mass crowds of the Lambeth Country Show aren't present, but the passion and belief in the local area is strong.
I stayed around for a couple of hours, watching a few local acts on the Main stage, and looking at some of the local stalls.
And then it was time for a trip to Tuscany / Dulwich.
You can never start an FA Cup campaign too early; you can never finish one too early either if you are Dulwich.
This was simply a dire performance from the Hamlet. I really don't know what went wrong during the 3-0 home defeat to Worthing, a team in a league lower in the non-league pyramid.
Still, it was nice and sunny.
Some brief gardening whilst the sun was still shining in SW8, and then I had an evening of online school catch up time.
A brief dip in the waters of Lake Brockwell to start the morning. The pool is emptying of summer swimmers. Soon the lido will be ours for the winter months. Never underestimate the selfishness of the cold water swimmer.
Also never underestimate the BONKERS-ness of the Brockwell Icicles. Olympic Gliding was apparently on the agenda for Friday morning. It involved dry diving, and then... gliding, to see who could achieve the greatest distance without any propulsion.
I listened intently to @mutley69 in the gents as he convinced me that it use to be an Olympic sport.
The cold water does funny things to your levels of gullibility.
It got slightly grown up as I was toweling myself down and chatting the the lovely, lovely chappie from the Friends of Brockwell Park. He stated with some disdain that the Friends group hadn't been consulted by Lambeth Council on the plans to ticket and charge for the fireworks for the first time this year.
The Friends group is soon expected to take on the full management and responsibility for running the Beauty of Brockwell...
And then I was SW9 bound and straight into a Singing and Signing Assembly.
Sheer joy, plenty of enthusiasm and delightfully funny.
I haven't seen this set of pupils in over six weeks. Cliche, cliche etc, but, some of them have grown. Proper young adults.
I had a morning of drama with Country File role play. I thought that I was trying to escape all of this rural twaddle...
The Nu Work Processes continued. I turned around half a dozen videos before luncheon.
Happy with that.
I stopped of at the Lambeth Council Bicycle Fair in Windrush Square en route to the lido again. It wasn't rammed, but it was a worthwhile event.
I managed to get my Raleigh Twenty polished and cleaned by those very nice folk from the London Cycling Campaign.
I had a brief chap with the Brixton Cycle folk, and then signed up for an I Love Ldn Halloween ride.
I got to road test the newly polished Twenty on the short cycle over to the lido. The front lawn had been cut since my morning swim some eight hours earlier - probably for the final time this season.
This was a feeling that characterised the lido late in the afternoon on Friday. These Transpontine GOLDEN DAYS will soon come to an end - probably by the start of next week. To still be sitting outside sunbathing in an art deco pool just outside of Brixton in mid-September is absolutely glorious.
There was a lovely old school Brockwell blue feel to both the water and ambience. Plus some friendly, familiar faces from back in the day. It could have been the summer of 1995 all over again, apart from the aching body.
The first working day for me back in South London schools. I started with plenty of enthusiasm and departed with double this amount.
Seriously - that good.
I've spent the summer break pondering the various processes and tools that I use to create content in schools. It has largely been unchanged in over five years.
Time to freshen up.
The sites that I manage all had something of a slight makeover during the break. I also took the opportunity to think about how I go about my work, and how this can be improved.
And so today was all about putting it to the test.
The ethos remains pretty much the same - hit and run, and grab as much content as possible; worry (or not) about editing and publishing later.
The trouble of course is that six weeks away means that you have plenty of gossip to catch up on with a lovely, lovely bunch of folk who are more friends than work colleagues.
I managed to make it around all year groups, from the Nursery through to Year 6. I encountered ICT coding, mental maths and Misery Moo along the way.
I was pleased with my new working processes. Capturing video was a particular success. I'm shooting, editing and uploading on the fly with iMovie on my iPhone. I reckon it has saved me half an hour for each short video in the turnaround process.
I got a little bogged down in policy stuff towards the end of the day when my mind was drifting.
I stopped off late afternoon for a brief dip at the lovely lido. The water was still hovering above an implausible 20 degrees. You would expect something around 15 degrees for late September.
Time was against me with a rare Wifey Transpontine rendez vouz back in Sunny Stockwell. I managed ten lengths and then did a runner.
I was amazed to find that the radiators were turned on in the changing rooms.
Building work inspection and tidying up took up all of the evening.
I wonder if I can change the work processes of the builders?
Another whirlwind, whirlpool of a swim to start Wednesday.
The roly poly aquatic ladies were making waves in the adjacent lane. They shift a fair amount of water as they waddle around the pool.
The tide was with me heading upstream, but I was battling against the roly poly waves for the return leg.
I attempted some experimentation with my stroke to try and overcome this. I’ve always been in awe of any swimmer that can smoothly pull off the three strokes and then up for some air approach to swimming.
I took a little time out to recover in the Racist Spa. It’s good to know that the prejudice isn’t purely a skin colour thing. The Scottish Question was under discussion in the Racist Spa today. I made my excuses and left.
A lizard darted out in front of me for the bicycle journey back on the trail.
I couldn’t identify it, but UKIP are on the rise around these estuary parts, Comrades.
I played around a little more with @ifttt mid-morning. It’s a fantastic platform that has so much potential.
I love the simplicity of connecting services - the trick is for the user to become creative to make the modern interweb work for them.
I set up a simple recipe on Wednesday. Any incoming email from ahem a certain local authority Comms Team is then given a particular filter in gmail. @ifttt picks up on the filter and then triggers me a Twitter DM.
Betcha I’m on the booze whenever one of the big stories drops.
Policy and planning was up next.
It was a morning of publishing various policy updates across various school sites. The start of any new school year is always heavy with a grand policy re-think. You’d be surprised to see how popular these are. They are also statutory as well.
Work shifts elsewhere followed, all in the fine company of @surreycricket, plus a little luncheon break with the PMQ’s twaddle.
It was particularly painful listening this week with the love in between both the Neo-Cons of both Labour and the Tories.
Late afternoon brought Garden Gate News: I have a new one. Well, an old one that has been significantly patched up, re-hung and painted. I have never been so excited about a piece of wood.
Decking tomorrow, Comrades.
A tired morning swim to start the day. A definite plodding up and down. There’s probably someone blogging how the pasta-heavy laden lard arse was clogging up the fast lane with his lethargic technique.
At least I wasn’t walking, ladies.
Straight outta the pool and straight into the barber’s chair.
The Eyebrow Question was once again raised at the end of the trim:
“Would Sir like his eyebrows trimmed?”
Would he fuck.
I’ve given the same answer, to the same barber, every four weeks for the past four years.
I may be a man of routine, but I am most certainly not a man for eyebrow treatment.
A spot of forward diary planning followed. For most people this might involve family gatherings, work meetings or even anniversaries.
My diary is now up to date between now and the end of May with fixtures for Brixton Topcats, Streatham Redskins and the London Lions.
It got me thinking that South London is losing a lot of sport as a consequence of the 2012 legacy. British basketball will never return to Crystal Palace now that the Copper Box is an established building. Likewise Herne Hill Velo has already lost the Good Friday meet to Stratford.
This worries me.
Part of the attraction of lugging my backside up Central Hill to watch basketball was that it was a local club. You can’t say the same for a franchise playing out of East London (although the demise of the Towers took place long before 2012 legacy was ever on the agenda.)
Work, Gilles Peterson, Tour of GB, bed.
Have a good one.
I took the Trail for the first time in a while en route to the pool this morning. I was surprised to see that it was still wet.
I’ve fallen into the bike snob habit of not even rolling out on the MTB tank if there is any sign of surface water. But that’s a little defeatist, and something I need to get over.
Ride to live, live to ride.
But when it’s been raining…?
The swim itself was characterised by the Walkers, Talkers and Flippers.
The Walking Lady was doing her aquatic waddle thing. A couple of old boys clogged up the medium lane just chatting the morning away.
Meanwhile Miss Flipper was putting in the power lengths next to me, and making me feel rather inadequate with her rubber enhanced kicking action.
And here’s me for a feeling a fraud whilst wearing gloves in the lovely lido.
Back at base and the morning was spent ‘managing’ Neil, the ACE painter. Or maybe it was the other way around? The house is having a freshen up after taking four years of estuary winter weather beatings.
Anna was back in Sunny Stockwell managing the builders.
I know who got the better deal…
It wasn’t the mad cat who hid underneath the garden shed all day.
The poor dear.
A run of work shifts, and then I published METROKNOBBERS from yesterday. Listening back I thought that the contribution from @InsideCroydon worked really well.
Darry and I are keen to open up the hyperlocal Transpontine political podcasts to other hyperlocal Transpontine political types.
It’s a growing scene, Comrades…
I managed to escape for a late Bobby George roll out in the afternoon. No sign of the Great Man as I passed his house.
I was hit with a mouthful of flies, and almost a darting pheasant to my front wheel along one of the remote Tendring lanes.
Rather pleased with the 28.1kmh Strava output.
La Vuelta and the Tour of GB concluded the day.
A misty morning meant it was a long sleeve lycra top first thing. Plus the plus four cycling tights, and don’t forget the GILET as well.
I look a right side.
It all felt FANTASTIC.
The ride itself was the usual Wifey Weekend Roll Out, minus the Wifey. She was stripping back in South London.
…we’ve got the plasterers in tomorrow.
And so my solitary, singular ride gave way to a smile shortly after rolling out when I passed a couple on a tandem. This would never work for Anna and I. There would be arguments and accidents before we even had time to shift the first gear.
It seemed that the entire Essex cycling community - whatever that is - was out riding before 8am on Sunday. We are entering the transition period where road bikes are put away for the winter months and the blood;y ugly winter bikes with mudguards start to clog up the lanes.
Many of the back lanes were still a little too heavy on gravel for my liking. It certainly slowed me down, leading to a rather disappointing Strava outcome.
My random unscientific observation from the morning is that road bike cyclists are lovely; it’s the MTB brutes that fail to return a friendly HELLOOO!
Get back to the dirt track, boys.
I stopped off for a quick swim on the return leg. Pool was full of poseurs and plasters. I failed to contribute to either category.
I settled down for some work after luncheon, and then admitted that I’m entering another of my musical obsessive phases.
These come along every six months or so - I simply can’t stop playing a particular album.
The late summer of 2014 has been defined by The Front Line CD box set, a sampler of the Virgin imprint form the late 1970’s.
I just can;t stop playing it.
It’s mainly roots, but with a little bit of early dub in there as well. What is striking is how some of the South London political messages from back in the day are still relevant now.
The trick with any musical obsession is knowing to get out before the overkill sets in. A rather unhealthy Beatles obsession back in the day has still kept me away from endless Twickenham outtakes.
But I’m enjoying immensely The Front Line for now.
I downed tools mid-afternoon to watch the England t20 twaddle. The traditionalist within rather enjoyed all of the excitement.
Poor old / young J-Roy. A rare, careless slog, and back in the hutch for 8.
His time will come.
It's been quite a week in hyperlocal matter for the borough that hangs out the arse of London. The Tory Leader stepped down after it was revealed that he took a legal extra £10k on his already high allowance salary, yet forgot to tell anyone.
I'll try and edit and publish #METROKNOBBERS tomorrow. It was refreshing to have a third voice joining in with the podcast crap.
And then an evening of work.
What else are Sundays for?
A power swim to start the weekend.
Some swims are better than others.
I didn’t have a particularly early night, but the sight of an empty pool was the only inspiration that I needed.
Fifty lengths, increasing slightly in speed in multiples of ten. I could have pushed it a little further, but work shifts were waiting back at base.
Pay to play, plus don’t forget the ongoing issue with various bicycle mechanical woes.
I spent three hours in the charming company of the local Bike Kitchen folk late in the afternoon.
I accept that I am no bike mechanic, but I quite like the ethos of the Bike Kitchen. Tools and knowledge are loaned out to you. The expectation is that you learn and fix the mechanical yourself.
I managed to thread a new cable for my gear shifter on the MTB, as well as get confirmation that I was trying the right approach to index the gears.
Something isn’t quite right with the alignment, but it was good to know that I was tinkering with the right bits and bobs.
I then moved on to the road bike. Once again, it’s all about the gears.
The chain wasn’t running smoothly around the top two gears. A few adjustments here and there, and hopefully the road bike is all set for a morning roll out tomorrow.
It was too wet to ride, or even water the garden by the time I arrived home.
I caught the end if of the cricket, and then La Vuelta highlights.
It seems to be a never-ending race that has been going on for months.
I don;t quite get the timing of the Tour of GB rolling out tomorrow when a Grand Tour still has a week left to run.
Quite excited, all the same.