I haven’t written much lately but, to quote from that famous* Stratford Upon Avon postcard, neither has Shakespeare. The difference is that he’s dead and I’ve just wanted to kill people. Harvesting 700 people from three dilapidated buildings and re-homing them in a shiny new one shouldn’t be this hard.
This assertion is based primarily on having it done quite a few times before. With more people. And less time. And considerably more complexity. The difference being this client has a level of dysfunction which upgrades any project to more of a quest.
All of which has resulted in many, many late nights, a few stand up arguments, a few more sitting down with my head in my hands, the very real prospect of me removing myself, bat and ball on the not unreasonable grounds of possible prison time for extreme violence metered out to the unworthy.
As ever my coping strategy combines alcohol is medicinal quantities and multiple trips to the mental refuge of mountain biking. When it finally stopped raining, the trails responded with a late summer bounty of slop-free hardness and occasional dust.
Most of my riding is prefixed by a mad dash from the office navigating the horror of the Hagley road and three separate set of roadworks** chasing a fast setting sun. And I cannot enjoy the hard packed dirt until my poor riding buddies have suffered the collateral damage of my gapless verbal machine gunning synopsis of another shitty day.
Then it’s been good. I’m not sure if it’s confidence ridden in from many rides this last six weeks or some kind of ˜don’t make me go back there‘ death wish, but my edge has been well and truly ragged. I’ve dragged front wheels slides back from certain disaster, survived endless cased jumped and bar-kissed almost every tree in the Forest. Both my bikes have been brilliant, which is obviously why I need a new one.
That project has stalled with a booked demo bumped by another Saturday in the office. Instead Random has gone from one bike she loved to two she’s not quite sure about. This after moving on her much cherished Islabike, which has taken her from a towpath rider to a full on MTB’r in a fast growing 18 months.
She’s too big for it now, visually demonstrated when she threw a leg over her sister’s lovely if languishing Spesh Myka. However Logic being a hostage to delusion in our household, I received instruction that Abi might suddenly regain the riding bug and that Herefordshire might suddenly become flat*** enough for her to enjoy a family ride.
Seizing on this as an opportunity for more bike buying, a quick scan of pre-loved bargains brought forth a bike with a dodgy providence and dubious history. Originally trumpeted as being custom built for the manufacturers wife, we subsequently discovered that not only was this a massive porkie, but also the frame wasn’t even the same model as advertised.
Not a problem for me as it’s clearly a thing of hand crafted beauty. Possibly a problem for weight-weenie Random who has her sister’s hatred of hills pointing up. My response was “ inevitably “ to throw money at the problem; lightening the frame by hanging boutique bits on the outside and replacing the weighty coil shock with an air equivalent in the middle.
And adding pink of course. Lots of pink to a frame probably designed for being hucked off massive drops. It’s essentially an elephant in drag, but looks bloody fabulous and shall be pedalled into the local woods on Saturday assuming Mr Fuck Up doesn’t visit the project meaning another weekend lost to the insanity of others.
I did manage to find time to take a few photos in between bouts of beating my head against a shiny new desk. Here are a few examples:
* Not really
** I can only assume there is some kind of ˜big data’ thing going on which pinpoints my regular routes and inserts 5 miles of roadworks in the middle of it.. No way it can be coincidental.
*** It appears to be my fault that we live in such a hilly county.