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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Big Brother is Watching

The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton is a maze of corridors, tunnels and lifts, which link the various seemingly random buildings together. I've been there perhaps 80 times this year visiting my Dad in various departments and still I get lost.

There is one lift which has a sinister looking glazed slot in its back wall. It always makes me think that there could be some unseen person peering through the slot, watching our every move. Spying on us, Orwellian style.

Or perhaps it's just my twisted mind!

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Spiritual Enlightenment - Part 2

This is a follow up to the blog I wrote yesterday, which I entitled “Spiritual Enlightenment”.

When I started that blog, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to say. Unfortunately it lost its way and I ended up finishing it before getting to the point I wanted to make. It wasn’t until later in the day that Mrs T-E pointed out that I had missed the point that I realised my error. My problem is that I am easily distracted ..... OO Look, something shiny!!!!

Therefore, back on track .....

I’ve always found bike riding a very immersive experience. It’s like Man and Machine against the World and no outside factors matter. I go into an almost dream like state where there is only room for focusing on the world directly around me. There are no distractions, no outside interference, no mobile phones, no chatter, not even any music. The sound of the engine and wind is my music.

It scratches that itch and cleanses the soul. This is my escape, my freedom, my Spiritual Enlightenment.

I’m sure if you are a biker, you will know about this joy too. Regards

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Monday, 9 September 2013

Spiritual Enlightenment

I’ve been away from biking for almost a year and even before that I hadn’t ridden regularly for a couple of years. The main reason for the lapse is that I took the decision to use the train to commute to work as biking it was getting too expensive. That and the fact that my working locations had varied from week to week. Sometimes I was working nights in London, other times I was in an office somewhere or other. At the end of 2009, I was made redundant and took a new office based job in January 2010. At this point I decided that I would continue to commute by train as it was just easier and safer than biking 50 miles a day. After this I just got out of the habit of regular riding.

Last weekend I decided that it was time I got back in the saddle. So with this in mind I bought 6 months road tax at the post office, bought new oil & filter at the local bike shop and returned home to fire up my bike. I uncovered her, unplugged the trickle charger, removed the chains that stop her from escaping when I’m not watching her and wheeled her onto the front path. As I turned to key, she sprang into life and all was well, right up to the moment I thumbed the starter button. There was a click from the starter and a strange ticking from the back of the bike and then ...... total silence. The battery was completely flat in a split second. Not the start to my re-energising experience that I had hoped for.

In the end I had to bump start her to warm the engine oil to help it drain out easily. I rode her round the block a few times to limber her up a little and everything, except the battery seemed to be in perfect order. Once I had changed the oil and recharged to battery I was once again unable to start her up. It was very clear that a replacement battery was needed, which meant another visit to the bike shop and an overnight charge.

The next morning I was off on the open road with wind in my face and flies in my teeth. Biking Heaven 8-)

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Friday, 3 May 2013

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter

Spring has this year been a long time coming. Even the Daffodils were very late to arrive, but at last things seem to be looking up.

The weekend before last we got in our first camping trip in our new (to us) Folding Camper. Although it was cold at night, with frost in the mornings, we managed to stay warm and it was very nearly shorts weather during the days. All too soon it was over and we had to make our return to reality. Fortunately the Folding Camper (or FC) will help us to get away from our mundane everyday existence far more often than our tent ever did. It’s very quick to erect, simple to pack away and doesn’t require the faffing about that comes with the roof box we bought year before last. In fact once packed correctly, the FC will stay loaded for the whole season and all we need to take in the car will be clothing and food. We are still trying to perfect the loading of the FC, but we should have it down to a fine art after another trip or two. In fact we are already planning several more trips, both weekends and longer. Junior has invited a school friend on our August getaway, which means we must fit as much in the FC as we can because we will need all four seats in the car. This will be quite a challenge as we are not known for travelling lightly.

We have also discovered that by joining the Camping and Caravan Club (CCC) we can save quite a bit on camping fees. Our first trip out was to a CCC site in Graffham, West Sussex, which turned out to be an amazing camp site in the middle of a forest near Petworth, West Sussex. I can highly recommend the site and you can read my review on the “UK Campsite” website.

When I get some time to myself I will try to catch up with my blogging. Such informative rantings are likely to include,

• Camping
• Fitting a Towbar and car electrics
• My loft accident
• My Dads Hospital saga
• How much I hate my current job
• I want to be a tree
• My new phone (I hope) 

 BTW – There are no prizes for guess which song the title of this blog comes from, but feel free to add your guesses in the comments 8-)


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Monday, 29 April 2013

My Morning Commute

I’ve been making the same journey to work on and off for almost 20 years. I leave our house, turning left up the road and then left again passing through the garages round the back and out onto the road which runs parallel to ours. I cross this road and then head down the service road behind the parade of shops. Down this road there is a small retail unit, which over the years has sold used cars, was empty for ages, but now is home to a car valet service which recently added a small coffee shop to the front.

At the other end of the road is the Scout Hut where I spent many a happy evening in my youth. At the pinnacle of my Scouting Career I was a Patrol Leader and gained the Chief Scout Award, which now seems a lifetime ago.

Having negotiated the puddles and mud in the community centre car park I continue down the footpath which passes the Primary School, which Junior briefly attended. The other end of this footpath enters a road of large Victorian houses and small cottages. Between two of the houses in a footpath which leads into a dead end road, where I used to deliver newspapers and this leads out to the shops and banks opposite the railway station. From there I have to dodge the morning cars and buses as they hurry to carry their passengers away to work. Once safely across the main road, it’s a short dash through the taxi rank and into the side gate of the station. Until about a year or so ago it was a straight run through the subway and onto the platform. Now however I have the additional task of fumbling around in my pocket for my season ticket and feeding it into the ticket barrier in the hope that I will be allowed passed to continue my journey by rail. Most days this works, but occasionally the gates don’t like the look of me and refuse to let me in.

Over the years the train service to work has gradually improved to the point where, with careful planning, I am mostly able to sit down on the train. It wasn’t always like that. When I first started my commuting the trains were dirty, drafty affairs, with “Slam Doors”, windows that didn’t keep the rain out and electric motors which couldn’t cope with “The Wrong Kind of Snow”. Today we have become used to clean modern trains with automatic doors, no opening windows, air con and seats which were designed for anorexic midgets. The fares have also increased to a point where this year’s season ticket has broken the £2000 mark.

Once squeezed into my seat I usually read from my Kindle and then fall asleep. Usually I wake in time for my stop, but I have once slept through and ended up at London Bridge, instead of East Croydon, but that’s another story.


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