Yes, Yes I know…

… I promised to swear my through an accident which bothered me less for what happened to me, but way, way more on the way it was met by a total lack of humanity from those who put the ignore into ignorance. But I’m waiting to see if it may still have a slightly happy ending. Which’ll please my mum who – because all mothers support their kids even when they have forgotten why – reads the blog and finds the swearing a bit offensive.

It would please me too as the incident messed with my version of reality, to an extent that I wonder if I’ll ever properly understand it. And you can judge if this is merely pretentious overreaction when I finally get round to writing it up.

As for the many other articles airily promised, but never delivered, over the last two years, the 22 dusty items in my drafts folder should give you some idea of the chances they have of every electronically coming to life. Snowball and Hell come to mind. I like to think of it as harsh editorial standards but really I just can’t be arsed to finish them.

And there’s something else. In January, the Hedgehog will be limping into a frankly unbelievable third year. In that time there have been tears, occasional laughter and a string of rubbish photographs. And while my ability to carry on writing it is almost as infinite as your patience for reading it, there are things afoot. Or possibly apaw.

But I’m fairly certain – for a given value of certain – that we may have to pickle the old fella for a while. And it’s odd that I care because long ago, I convinced myself stuffing the ‘hog was written for the enjoyment of trying to be clever, rather than any reflected ego in all of you reading it.

Might have been kidding myself then. Anyway – even by my loquacious standards – I have rambled enough tonight. Fear not, I’ll provide a plethora of links to funny people who will amuse you for far longer than I can. And while you’re doing that, I’ll burrow on with the secret project to see if it can ever crawl out of the burrow.

And no, it’s not a collection of mixed metaphors. But thanks for asking.

EDIT: The reason this post was pulled a couple of times – for those utilising the magic of the RSS feed – was because I was concerned it was self referential BS. In face, I’m still pretty sure it is, but if we’re mixing those metaphors on the great decks of pretension, it seemed important to draw an electronic line in the sand. Or something. Right, glad that’s cleared it up πŸ˜‰

Power Cuts.

A fine eighties Rock Ballard album which, in tandem with a rather fine red, represented my Friday night hedgehog muse. To the Welsh Warbling of Bonnie Tyler, I raced up soaring peaks of descriptive prose, and carved great swathes of laugh out loud sentences.

And then the power went off. And with it an oft repeated ode to the importance of regular backup. Left with no music to power the now stilled electronic press, only the wine remained. And, because streetlighting has yet to reach the lesser lanes of the village, the precise location of a now much needed drink was lost in the darkness.

Treading carefully to avoid a sticky liquid warranty claim, a journey into the inky blackness of the cellar was rewarded with the emergency candles. My joy was spiked by the bare-footed discovery of children’s toy’s left abandoned – sharp side up – on every flat surface in the house.

With candlelight, a jumper and a mechanical bottle opener, the night passed slowly but not without a little Dunkirk Spirit sort of pleasure. Occasional beams of light from battery operated devices* refracted against the sightless windows, mixed with screams of pain as more toys were located using the bleeding foot approach.

We gave up around 10pm, navigating woozily upwards in the medium of human pinballs. Some five hours later, my cosy dreams suddenly took on a disturbing edge of household surround sound. Televisions barked loudly with zero viewer programming, clocks chirped awake, lights blinked into action, and alarms whined of forgotten passcodes. Ten minutes later all was again quiet, kids put back to bed, alarm stilled, tv’s electronically terminated and lights darkened.

Peace descended on the house except for my feeble moaning. In my haste to manually cut the power, I’d forgotten about the caltraps lying in wait. And the fantastic article, what happened to that? Gone, neither saved nor remembered, lost to the four winds of the storm that broke the power. Ah well, no point in raising the bar really – you were just have assumed I’d stolen it from somebody with talent πŸ˜‰

* No. Absolutely not what you’re thinking. And since when did they come with a torch on the end?

It was there a minute ago…

… and now it’s gone. In a moment of vocational angst, I committed various ideas to electronic paper which – on sober reflection* – were probably a little close to the knuckle. In fact, any closer and it would have been just knuckle.

And I may have been on the receiving end of that noun had I left it abandoned at the windblown curb of the hedgehog.

If you really want a copy, send me an email. If I see it on the web anywhere, expect violence πŸ˜‰

* It’s not often that a state of sobriety exists after 7:30pm, but today has been special in many varied and painful ways.

Man Overboard!

I am jumping ship for a few days to relocate the family to Devon during the hardest school holiday of the year. Still I don’t reckon the sea will be that cold and there will be plenty of space on the windswept beach to build sandcastles. Failing that, it’ll be the indoor play park for them and large paper for me.

Unless we lose the rugby on Saturday in which case I’ll be instituting a complete media blackout, and pretending I am a South African for the next four years.

And although whitespace probably has more amusing content that anything I write, the virtual press waits for no one and a couple of articles will magically appear during my absence. Well not magically because teleporting is still a young science but I’m sure you get my drift.

Before I leave this evening, I need to cull my inbox with extreme prejudice, complete the twenty tasks I airily promised to have done today, remove the forks on one bike and ship them to a proper repairer, sort out my brothers bike which he is finally taking ownership of after leaving it with me for two weeks, four years ago and patiently explain to the kids that the equation “Kids Toys for Four days > Volume of car boot” cannot be solved unless I’m wielding the chainsaw of justice.

Better get on with it then.


…atus. Much as I wish to share with you the collective state of embarrassment that followed a mobile phone conversation, a stern word and an extremely drunk person being violently sick, it’ll have to wait because – frankly – I have better things to do. And there’s still just about enough residual pain from a desk based shoulder injury to trigger a pretty standard whine about age, infirmity and the ergonomically disastrous pda thingy.

But a long weekend of riding, photography and beer awaits as the ace MTB photographer Seb Rogers takes me and three others under his wing in an attempt to focus our fledgling (or in my case non existent) soul stealing skills. Metcheck tells me the sun will shine, history tells me I shall probably be using crushing hangovers as excuses for rubbish everything, my wife tells me this is an odd thing to ask for as a 40th birthday present.

Bikes? Photography? Beer? Quantocks Singletrack? No, on reflection, I think it’ll be fine.

Back Monday with some awesome riding shots assuming I can steal Seb’s memory card.

Reverse stalker.

During a spot of electronic housekeeping, the entire stat-pack from the last year has been deleted archived. This is all part of a complex but well documented back up regime where the whole bloody lot has gone, gone, gone every possible care is taken to ensure that data is not lost. Twenty years in IT and still a bit punchy on the “are you ABSOLUTELY SURE?” dialogue box.

So a million spam bots can again batter their electronic bullet heads against the triple glazed window of my spam filter while I take a brief peek behind the net curtains of the stats page. Twitching as I was, it seems not much has changed, still about five hundred real people a day, still a few hits from some rather large organisations that clearly don’t monitor web access AND a regular web prod from a person who works for a major Formula 1 Company.

Sod the rest of you, I’m talking to him/her. Look, I basically lie for a living so if you need anything fabricating that’d induce some kind of reciprocal come and have a look round the factory, I’m up for it. Honestly, I’m that shallow. Really, like a tea spoon.

Actually building on that, I may soon be in need of a low interest loan, some tyres for the car, a post grad degree, a warehouseful of fish fingers and a pair of novelty socks. You know how you are. And now, worryingly so do I.

Anyway I hit delete again? Why? Because I’m stupid and wondered if it’s true that only an insane man will do the same thing twice to see if he gets the same result.

If MySpace were a country..

… it’d house 150 million citizens apparently. Dreadful place to live tho – nobody over the age of about 11, a language with all the vocabulary required to span ‘ugh’ to ‘fuck’ and a national costume of grunge, dirt and hair. Difficult to see how it’d get past the first generation since economic success would be based on everyone getting up around 2pm and playing in an unsigned band. Copulation could also be a bit hit and miss, what with everyone looking the same and communicating in base grunt.

If Facebook were a country, 30 Million middle class people would amusingly poke each other every five minutes whilst exclaiming “I am currently wasting my time pretending to be hip“. The country would be a hotbed of dinner parties, photo exchanges and membership of ever more niche clubs such as “one handed, two fingered, three in a bed with a baboon“. Nobody would have to work because they’ve already earned their money and the only market would see useless trinkets traded on eBay.

If Pickled-Hedgehog was a country, 550 lunatics would be running the asylum. Most would cycle, all would drink and victims from FaceBook and MySpace would be imported for merry challenges involving the scorpion pit. We would lie, cheat, exaggerate, self-promote, idolise in vainglory and repent at leisure. Rain would be banned as would tarmac, street performers and any institution professing an interest in democracy. I would, of course, be in charge but there would be sufficient Dukedoms and Titles so that you wouldn’t mind.

We’ve already done policy. I reckon we’ve all earned a decent drink and a nice round of cheese.

Like painting the Forth Road Bridge..

… updating the bike page is a full time job. The Turner has gone up North but any hopes it had of being put out to a restful pasture are to be dashed. My friend Andy Shelley has added significantly burly hardware to ensure it survives the rigours of a weekly ragging around the Peak District. How the hell he’s made it weight 32lbs I do not know, unless the braking system has been upgraded with an anchor.

What few bikes I own are catalogued here

It’s a pretty poor collection now I’m sure you’ll agree.

Training day

It’s over there—-> on Bikemagic.

And in other vanity publishing news, buried at the back of the excellent Singletrack magazine is an article first seen on the hedgehog a couple of months ago. However, before my ego asks for a raise, I know it is nothing more than desperate content filling when their proper contributers get writers block.

Fear not, the motherlode of all things pointless will soon strike a rich new seam once I can convery dribbly angst to electron’d paper.


…. and you’re back in the room πŸ™‚

I think I’ve made my point but I’m holding that theme in reserve if there is any continued criticism of my choice in innovative and exciting bike colours.

It was making me feel quite unwell every time I loaded the page tho.