Friday, 6 January 2012


I can't believe I haven't blogged since Monday. Where does the time go?

The weather has been particularly poor and my knees are still playing up so I have enjoyed the rest and have managed to make arrangements for a couple of trial rides over the next few weeks. I think a trial run is called a Shakedown in the Navy but I don't understand why sailors would need to go on a bike ride.  I'm a bit disappointed that the camping stuff I ordered hasn't arrived yet but there is a week to go. The first ride will be next Friday, the 13th, and this will be the same as Stage 1 to Denby Dale where I hope to camp in Steve and Maggie's back garden and try out the gear. That will be a laugh, if I get there in one piece, that is. I looked at the route elevation and noticed that there is a bit of trouble at Saddleworth, 300m climb in 5km. I may just have another look at that! A couple of weeks later I'm off to Guiseley to stay at Phil's. This is a longer ride but with slightly easier gradients. It's got to be done. If these go OK I will feel I can tackle anything over on my carefully chosen wimp route over there on the mainland.

The wind was horrendous on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but it relented just a bit on Thursday afternoon so I nipped to Billinge to see Marg and Keith. Sean was over from Turkey and in the area visiting them so it was a good excuse to do a different route. I came home the long way and it added up to about 14 miles. A few excellent beers were supped at last night's session which was quiet by recent standards obviously because of the post-christmas financial vacuum and all the lightweights are just probably fed up with going out. Not us lads though. No-o-o-o.

I went to see my chiropractor in Longton this morning and she gave me some excellent advice about my knees which I have already put into practice, so we'll see how that works out. I go and see her every three months and she keeps my back straight. I did have some serious problems in that region a while ago, no - not Longton, and she sorted me out. She's a toughie and she wouldn't allow me to ride today because of my treatment so I've just had to sit around all day. Just love that lady.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Nice to be back.

New Year was a good do at my mum's house. Apart from the usual festivities, I was subjected to a Mastermind session where I was forced to answer questions on 1950s Musicals. This was my sister's specialist subject when they had a Mastermind theme for a works do and I was sat in the hot seat while she asked me the questions. I complained that she wasn't saying "correct" like Magnus used to say, to which she replied, "You've got to get one right before I can say that." Needless to say I was rubbish. It was decided that we'll all do it again next year but with our own specialist subjects. Mine will be "Campsites of Southern Rumania". Yes, I spent a lot of last night researching on the internet and found enough places to stay to make me feel confident about getting through that part of the trip, which was always the most troublesome potentially.

I received a reply to my email to the first campsite in Holland confirming they are open, which was nice to know. I will send out a few more emails this week to campsites in Germany and Austria just to check if they will be open and will revise my schedule based on places where I can stay as opposed to towns which are 50 miles apart.

The weather was miserable on New Year's day with heavy grey clouds and steady rain. I had intended to do a small ride and was all dressed up and ready to go but it was too wet. I watched Everton's late rally thwart West Brom and then found the rain had stopped so I squeezed 11 miles in before the Man City game started and what a finish that was?

As well as looking for campsites, I spent the evening ordering my panniers and other bits of camping equipment which should all arrive later this week. I will then be in a position to do a trial run over the mountains to Yorkshire, mainly to see if everything works ok and also to check that I can carry the stuff on the bike etc.   

I was gong to have a rest today because the knees still aren't pain free but the weather was good and rain is forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday so I rode up the hill to Haigh Hall with Barney the blue merle border collie for company. I came down the hill a bit quicker and he loved it, galloping behind with his tongue out as they do. After I brought him back I went on the usual 11 miler and then finally did some work, hence the title of the post. I never know what to put for the title until I've finished.