Life’s a beach

H;mm beachy

I have spent much of the last two days in a state best described as “Moderately Damp”. This level of external moistness normally fires up the hedgy bilge pump to spray out exactly how wet/unhappy/in receipt of ‘trench willy’ my latest bike ride was. And followingsome random punctuation and naughty words, comes invariably a whinge that the bad weather has got personal, and there’s no one left to complain to.

Not today. An opportunisic very long weekend saw us heading out to the Welsh Riveria where golden beaches and stunning backdrops await. Not that we ever got that far, because a late start and early finish bracketed our sandy day. Which had started with a well known “low cost” tyre emporium cheerfully explaining that a) two tyres for the mighty Love Bus would be£330, b) They didn’t have any and c) tracking was extra.

How can it be extra? I am a major shareholder, surely, after that purchase and deserve some owner perks? And no wonder they didn’t have any, because at that price, I assume some Cuban virgin is hand rolling fresh rubber on her supple thighs. Hang on a minute, I just need to… er one more minute.. no I’m good…. right, as you were. Anyway I spurned their request for a large bucket of cash in return for some vague promise of future service, and instead deposited Baldy The Mini-Truck at the local garage.

Who, without any reference to far-flung, rubber rolling maidens, did the job in quarter of the time for about half the cost. This says to me that certain chains – okay KwikFit – are a bunch of racketeering, scaremongering rapscallions, and I shall not be darkening their telephone lines again. This is the first, and probably, last time the hedgehog does Public Service Broadcasting, and so I’d appreciate it if you could shout “THEIVING BASTARDS” ever time you pass one of their dens of financial inequity.

Anyway the beach was lovely, unspoiled and vast. The dog was mad, mentally disturbed and much chastised. The kids were briefly cold, often wet and full of the kind of smiles that only sand and ice cream can bring. I was merely sunburned on my extensive thin bit, and mildly exercised removing Murf from other peoples sandwiches.

The huge caravan park however is something else. It’s evenly split between people waiting to die, and those who are drinking such industrial quantities of cheap cider, they may soon be joining them. It was properly tacky with a betting shop on site, adjacent to a nasty looking greasy cafe and a gaudy bingo hall. It is also pretty close to my idea of hell, but – on walking through it – it seems I was in a minority of one. Although since I was the only bloke sober or not on life support in a twenty acre radius, this may have been contributory.

It’s not me being some kind of intellectual snob here. Mainly because I have neither the intellect or upbringing to be either, but I just don’t understand why you’d cage yourself in camp of 300 identical caravans, while there are delights aplenty all around. I am worryingly starting to view canvas bell tents in a non ironic manner, but the only good thing I can say about these caravans is at least they weren’t blocking a major arterial highway.

Having just about dried off, today we took 10 of Verbal’s friend’s swimming, ratcheting up the excitement with a huge floaty activity thingymebob*, before shovelling a zillion sugared calories and a similar number of e-numbers into their hungry stomachs. Parents love these swim parties as they get 2 hours of child-free weekend bliss. Having seen those kids at the end of the party, I’m not sure they’ve fully got the risk/reward gig here.

Anyway I must off to go battle with the eye high weeds with the Al modified strimmer**, because tomorrow the weather is again set fair. I think it would be wholly inappropriate not to enjoy that on some kind of bicycle.

* I fell off it three times. And then stopped, because I’d swallowed most of the pool. I told the kids I was merely prat-falling to amuse their little minds. They’re 10 and too lifeworn for that “Yeah, whatever“.

** Oh yes. Only a proper engineer can see something electrically certified and clearly dangerous, before thinking “right, to give it a bit of a kick, let’s simply convert it to NITRO“,


Or CDO as we obsessives like to order it. I have spent the majority of my Bank Holiday weekend polishing adequate to create something smacking of compulsive. I don’t know many people who would level four odds’n’sods bins with a spirit level, or even spend a hour on the web searching for a match for what they already had.

*Raises hang guiltily* It’s still not done, A couple of under-bench shelves will be harvested from some old fire doors, and the Swedish basket system re-made through the simple medium of re-allocating a fistful of drinking vouchers.

Notice the post project beer* taking pride of place. And if you think that side is tidy, check this out.

Workshop/Bike Store Workshop/Bike Store

Workshop/Bike Store Workshop/Bike Store

Worry not about bike removal versus possible shelf interference. I went all scientific with string and angles, before running a full bike removal simulation. Yes, it took some time, but being right is sometimes better than being quick**, so I could relax on my pimpy stool with a beer some bottles downstream from the topping out glass, and declare – with a satisfied nod – “That’ll do”.

It’d have been a whole lot easier without six silly model aeroplanes that formed no part of the original plan. But a on-the-job design mod saw a bunch of pre-loved plasterboard jimmied into the roof, delivering the perfect storage solution to filing lots of occasionally useful shit.

Although in my rush to get it done, I’m not exactly sure what. Haven’t seen the cat for a couple of days which may explain why one of the boxes kept changing shape as I attempted to stow it.

We’ve*** finished the office as well which is significantly less busy although that may just because I’m meant to be working in it. The view into the field would be lovely, were it not for the acres of “to be dealt with” crap outside the window. And until the wood fades a bit, I’m feeling tempted to strip off and set fire to the bookcase to create the authentic Sauna experience.

Before I filled it with electronic detritus and much loved – but long filed – pictures, it looked like this:

Workshop/Bike Store

Three things struck me this evening as three days of holiday came to a rather abrupt end:

1) I’ve spent most of it working inside. While it has been stupidly hot and lovely outside. I’d pay good money we no longer have to switch this weekend with the last one – so CLIC would have been fantastic, and finsihing this wouldn’t feel like penance for something very bad from a previous life.

2) I don’t need to finish a job I just started. The actual task doesn’t matter, but for the first time in bloody ages, it doesn’t have to be done by tomorrow. It won’t last, but it feels pretty damn good to actually finish something, and not have to immediately start the next thing.

3) We’re bloody lucky to live here. You sort of lose sight of that. But walking the mad mutt in the warm evening, and being immersed in a million acres of stuff gowing like buggery feels like quite a privilege.

Sometimes you spend so much time trying to plan for what’s about to happen, you kind of forget why you started in the first place. Having spent an giggly hour on the trampoline with the kids, I’m going to try bloody hard not to do so in future.

* not shown, two previously topping out beers quaffed in about 9 seconds after working inside on the hotest day of the year.

** A couple of examples come to mind that buck that particular argument. I’ll not be troubling the hedgehog readership with either of them, since one of that readership is my mum.

*** I had a “Mission Control” morning with a million cables and recalcitrant Wireless tat, Carol painted the hard yards of the floor. Three times 🙂

Happy Murfday

I remembered the dog’s birthday, but somehow managed to book a weekend of misery – where the Holy Trinity of riding horror: wind, rain and mud shall converge on a sodden field full of hollow eyed idiots – when Verbal hits double figures. A masterly oversight that would normally offer a perfect excuse to stay warm and dry inside, but your sponsorship means that is not allowed to happen.

I hope you’re happy 😉

Anyway the dog is now a year old and in the eight months he’s been a member of the Leigh-pack, he’s grown into a much loved, if slightly destructive family pet. The wear and tear on shoes and bins has come as a bit of a surprise, as has the worrying prospect that he still has some way to grow. Unfortuantly this is unlikely to be in the much shrunken areas of his stubby ears amd stumpy legs. As all the growth genes have been seemingly directed to his head, nose and stomach.

And yes he smells a bit, his attention span can be measured in nanoseconds, he’s not terribly obedient and his drool can be a bit embarrassing. We’re still talking about the dog here, ok? Last night he demonstrated all these qualities on being asked to “come” from some major sniffage action he’d undertaken a hundred yards or so away.

His response was unusually immediate and, as ever, enthusiastic. I watched in dog training pleasure as he arced round a clump of trees and turned onto an intersect trajectory. What should happen now is the well trained dog will slow, sit in front of you and be rewarded with a treat.

I have to mitigate what follows with the rider that he tried. He really did, engaging full reverse 4 paw thrust about twenty yards out in the expectation of stopping some two seconds later. What actually happened was those big, fat paws merely aqua-planed on the wet grass, and – if anything – 35 kilograms of rock hard dog began to accelerate.

The last thing I remember was seeing a look of some shock on Murf’s fizog before the world flipped ninety degrees and I found myself lying winded, face down in the long, damp grass. I thought I’d stay there for a while to mentally prepare myself for the CLIC this weekend*. Lord Smelly of Dog had other ideas and I received the “slobber of life” which is a medical triumph in terms of immediacy of response.

Within a second I was back up with a “Geroff, yuk, ugh, horrible animal“. I was wet everywhere, especially where slob-o-dog had gone straight for tongues, my good knee now hurts like the bad one and my elbow is making a strange clicking sound. It’s probably some kind of water diviner which could be useful for tomorrow. In case I cannot work out where the h20 is by following the stair-rods of horizontal rain.

Anyway, wish me luck. Or just point and laugh. I don’t care, I couldn’t be more miserable. The only thing that has cheered me up is the reinstatement of the “TOOL WALL” after a year abandoned in various lofts. Tune in over the weekend – not for some twatter/mobile phone picture update – but for some OCD type images of the half finished workshop.

I am going outside. I may be some wet.

* I made this observations last year. And it was fantastically sunny over the whole weekend. I’m thinking of it as my lucky joke. Let’s hope it works eh? One the one side “my lucky joke“, on the other a million weather computers predicting conditions ideal for submarine exercises. H’mm.

As my mum is on holiday….

From Flickr Images. Random bloke giving it large
From Flickr Images. Random bloke giving it large

… May I be allowed a “FUCKING HELL THAT WAS JUST BLOODY FANTASTIC” ? Thank you.” But I cannot really tell you quite how good that was because a) I am so happy to be still alive and b) I don’t really have the words to adequately describe the feeling of mainlining adrenaline.

Cwmcarn Uplift Day Cwmcarn Uplift Day

Five minutes of riding downhill with your bollocks on fire* packs in a whole lot of life events. A gamut of emotions rollercoasting from joy to abject terror accompanied by a staccato commentary “fuck, get a grip, get inside that bloody corner, pump that, jump that, back back back some more that’s steep, fuck fuck fuck that’s rocky, get off those bloody brakes, let it go, breathe, breathe, breathe

Cwmcarn Uplift Day Cwmcarn Uplift Day

Chasing your friends is a big part of the fun, having the same limb count at the bottom is some of the rest. The course is not hardcore compared to some of the rockfests in Scotland, but if you take liberties, it’ll respond brusquely by trying to kill you. Near the end of our seventh run, I thought I had it’s measure and went for some stuff that quickly proved I didn’t.

Cwmcarn Uplift Day Cwmcarn Uplift Day (27 of 24)

We failed to crack the five minute barrier but it’ll definitely go. And the burly bike build is staying. Okay I may remove the elephant prophylactics masquerading as inner tubes, but the rest makes the whole package just so much fucking fun at a speed on the margin of fear and unreconstructed joy.

Blasting out on the Van stereo, as we ascended for our last run, was Bono lamenting he’d yet to find what he was looking for. Looking at the bike shadows cast by the falling sun, I think maybe I already have.

* this is a metaphor. Although those DH boys were suspiciously messing around with their ciggy lighters at the top.