Monday, June 30, 2008


TSK and Trepid Explorer are nesting. Wo woh. Don't get excited, there's no little hippotigermusses on the way but we have a window of 12 weeks in which to plan and rework the house that is Woot before we actually need to move back into it.

I have discovered the power of the Ikea kitchen design tool.

I have ordered a 10x7 garden shed for the end of the path to house our army.

We spent the weekend evicting spiders, pruning the overhanging trees on the rear entrance path to the house and crawling around the kitchen with a tape measure.

Oh what fun I'm going to have.

Here's the before

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday night bounce

It's amazing how good it can feel to suddenly have all the time in the world - even if it's only for an hour.

It's noisy around the pool but I feel peaceful because I have 45 minutes to kill before my step aerobics class at 7.

I used to hate the idea of aerobics, all those gym bunnies in lycra. Then I realised I've never been any good at training on my bike or running. I can ride for miles and miles for fun but when it comes to going fast I have to be racing.

For me, good training is all about diversity - a bit at the gym, a bit at the pool, a game of squash, a run then back to the bike. It's easy to push your aerobic capacity when you suck at something. So I am waiting for step aerobics and I intend to rejoin the gym (to fund the aerobics and the pool) and soon I will be standing on the other side of that glass wall ballancing on a gym ball with the guy who likes to do handstands in the morning, the two of us looking like a pair of circus freaks.

TSK's time trial season has gone off to a flying start. What a refreshing change for me. My race training has only started now, ready for the winter. Let's rephrase that, it has to start now. I can only take so much satisfaction from the fact that I'm the only one of four girls at work, interested in this aerobics who gets up at 7am, reaches for the phone and books in for an evening class.

And all this because a friend posted a little dude saying, "Hello, this is your life speaking, more treats please". That little dude is now on my desktop, peeping out at me every day reminding me to finish on time, switch off my PC screen and go and do something more interesting.

OK, I admit, the first few times it ended up in the pub but there's nothing really wrong with that is there now?

There's now a steady stream of events leading up to the big event of The3 Peaks on 29th September:

19July Dunwich Dynamo
24 Aug Wild Wales challenge
30 Aug The Tour of the Cornfields

Who knows, I might just do something special this year at the big race

Sunday, June 22, 2008

All blocked up

I woke up this morning and I was deaf in my left ear. Eugh. "Sounds" familiar ('scuse the pun).

My dad is deaf in one ear. He had an ear infection and fell off his bike and bumped his head. Ever since then he's been deaf in one ear - the left one. This sounds like a horror story parents tell their kids so they don't fall off their bikes, or get ear infections so let's add a pinch of salt. But really, my dad is deaf in one ear and today, so am I, so I am not going out on my bike.

There has been a resounding silence (even to a half-deaf person) over the sale of my house. This probably has mostly to do with the "credit crunch" and impending doom of the housing market but I also feel might be slightly attributed to the so-far uselessness of my estate agent who, two weeks into a 12 week contract has still not managed to load any photos onto the website. For a house that's being marketed as "well presented" that's a bit shit. Good job I'm not in a rush to sell. Their latest excuse for not getting all the photos is my tenant's bras were hanging from the stair rail. Really, I don't feel like bollocking my tenant.

So instead of cycling, I am spending today using the Ikea interweb tool to design myself a new kitchen and to figure out how I can fit all the furniture I own into the old Woot Bass house in a sensible fashion, instead of the higgeldy-piggeldy mess it was in when I first moved in in a rush.

I feel a serious shopping spree coming on soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And the less Angsty Post

I have started packing...

Moving in September but packing makes me feel better.

Moving house sucks

Moving house has always sucked and always will do. You take risks, you takes your chances. I guess I have always had a relatively easy ride. I have sold houses at profit and I have bought houses and not had them fall through.

The market is weird at the moment. On the one hand, it is low enough that I can afford to buy in a lovely village that I never dreamed I would live in until I was at least 40. Now I have found somewhere, I have to sell my own house. I am hoping I will find someone who is just like me, someone who's never dreamed they could afford a Woot Bass. That person hasn't yet noticed that I am here, selling, my house at less than its market value. They've had two feckin' days.

I want to move! I want to move now so I can spend a bit of time working on my new house, so I can travel HOME every weekend - not spend my time holed up in this dump of a flat. The toilet broke last night. Two feckin' months to go and the toilet breaks. Feck feckity feck feck.

I think I might go to mum and dad's again this weekend. Not to look at any houses but to trawl up and down some hills on my bike... and on foot. I am tempted to kick my tenant out and start travelling back to Woot Bass but where would that get me? A stash of cash worse off every week, that's where that'd get me.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Soh Tired

Yesterday we did the Tour of the Shires - from Walton in Lincs out towards our home in the Fenlands then up and back towards Bosworth and back to Walton. To be honest, I have no idea where I was or where I was going. I only knew I had to get back to my Vanu at the end of the day.

The tender for the job in London and not getting it exhausted me and depressed me so much I decided on Thursday to go to Woot Bass and get on with my plan to sell by tidying the gardens and inviting nosey estate agents to view and evaluate. The experience of gardening for six hours on a Thursday left me with very heavy legs (I also did a cracking ride on Wednesday night at the Hereward '10 - actually a very hilly 11.5 mile time trial).

On Friday I told TSK that I truly was looking forward to the 200km ride at the weekend but, with so much on, his job was to get me there and get me home again because I had no idea where I had to be and when or where I was going to be going. I could just about manage the riding bit myself.

It was a cold morning for June - 14 degrees - but I opted for the shorts over the 3/4 lengths never the less. About 30 cyclists set off from the village hall at 8 am and we basically rode like we were on another 10 mile TT, trying to keep up with the fast people at the front. As the aged and hardened Audaxers finally dropped me on about the 10th climb (way-to-go I am improving!), we hopped on the back of various groups catching us and passing us.

After 50km and approaching the first check point, I regretted the shorts as the temperature dropped to 13 and the rain began but we were approaching a pub so I can't complain... until we found out that food was restricted to a choice of ham, cheese or chicken sandwiches (plain white bread and butter, no extras) and the only member of staff was making each plate to order. I joined a short queue and felt sorry for the people behind us (YES! This time there were people behind us!!).

When we left the control the rain had slowed to a steady drizzle which kept us reasonably cool on the lessening (but by no means disappearing) climbs through parkland, rolling hills and forested areas. Some of the roads degenerated into wonderful meandering lanes that narrowed to the width of one car and in some places, grass was growing in a strip down the centre - giving us the confidence to ride long distances side by side. I didn't realise there were such places of loveliness in Lincs and Northants and so open! Where in Kent or Cheshire, villages would have appeared, there was little to be found for miles on this route until finally the second checkpoint.

The rain had ceased so we hung our coats on the back of chairs and snuggled into blankets to dry off our bums and feast on a shared plate of chips and carrot cake (each). Outside, the public passed by on foot, taking their Saturday walks along the canal bank and taking the time to admire the stacks of shiny bikes parked willy-nilly on the lawn of the caf A couple wanted to know where we had been and where we were going to and I was forced to admit I didn't have a clue. This Audaxing lark is not as simple as something like the London-to-Brighton.

Benefits of the last few weeks racing around the lanes of Cambridgeshire started to show as I looked at my 'pooter with 137km on the clock and concluded that the last 70km "wasn't far" and "at this rate, we'll be back by 5pm". TSK pointed out that this didn't allow for degradation in speed (despite the good weather and flattening terrain) or that we would be stopping a few more times before the night was out.

The third checkpoint was at a wonderful farm shop. The only bad thing about it was that it was half-way down the side of a valley. At the 150km point, it's never good to know you're either going to have to go back up the hill you just came down or, worse, continue to the bottom of the valley then climb back out. After getting overly-excited in our delirium over pottery hedgehogs clutching "Welcome" signs and fluffy kitten toys and a twee hanging basket bracket with a cat on it, we tucked into yet more cake and a pot of tea. The chap who arrived after us sent back a cup and saucer that had been provided in excess of his requirements - a pot-of-tea-for-two... for one please.

Thankfully, finally (for my Audax career) the weather stayed fine. I, unfortunately, didn't. The climbs just kept coming and I just kept getting slower. My gears are quite high on Red (she lacks a small "granny" chainring) and eventually my left knee made a stinging, stabbing pain which lingered momentarily as I gasped for the air to fill whatever space I had vacated of air with the initial hissy-scream. I found myself cycling through the most remarkable parkland area on a 1% climb doing 8km/hr and mostly pushing with my right leg. It was time to a) suck it up and get on with it and b) eat chemicals. An energy-goo snot-in-a-bag type Banana "flavoured" intake was insufficient so I popped about 5 dextrose tabs which seemed to do the trick and I coped with sweating out sugar for the rest of the day.

Only info-checks to do.

Initially confusion over "The flower-related shop name on the right, before the left turn in to Newlands".

In our tired state, this was translated into, "The flowershop name on the left turn into Newlands".

With only a shoe-shop on the right, called "Daisy Roots", we asked a passer-by where the flower shop was. Happy to help, the lady misinterpreted my question as a need to buy flowers.

Unable to find the words (or the time) to describe what we were really up to, I opted for, "We're on a treasure hunt and the clue doesn't make sense".

Thankfully, before any embarrassment, TSK figured out the truth behind the clue and we were back on track.

Finally at 8pm, 12 hours after our start time, we rolled back into the village-hall carpark, our aching knees screaming out for tea. For someone who dislikes Sandwiches, I took immense pleasure in demolishing a white roll with grated cheese, some onions and smoky bacon crisps. To the extent that I even considered making my own lunch for work on Monday. I ate too much maltloaf and too many Jaffa Cakes and then we stopped for chips on the way home - both of us eating the fishcake and about 10 chips before giving up on forcing any more into our deflated bellies.

But finally, an event we could go to and come back from in one day. We got the washing on and went to our local caf for breakfast this morning. With a head tired and yet clear from a day of blowing away the cobwebs I can see a way forward... today, tomorrow (estate agents) and into next month. This job or any other job, I have decided there will be three elements to it:

TSK (as always)
Having a home (because for all that I've made money out of my house, there's nowt like having a home)
The bikes (because they make me feel better and for all that I'm a cyclist, I should start behaving like one)
On with life.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Two weeks ago I wrote this.

In those last two weeks I have, in addition, done a tender for a job in London which I was so convinced I would get, I went flat-hunting the next day.

Subsequently, I did not get that job so the status quo remains.

25/5/08 - Frustration caused by not knowing what I will be doing from one month to the next and then also, not wanting to continue doing the same thing is driving me mad and I am feeling steadily worse. Andrew is being very understanding and incredibly supportive despite the times when I smile at him with a whithering grin or walk away from his foolery when normally I would join in. Today we made our first move towards selling Woot Bass, the little house that brought us so much joy and permanence for such a short period of time. It's OK. It no longer feels like my little house and I will find it difficult to get used to that furniture being mine again.

Being back in Wiltshire, in the country, has rejuvinated me somewhat. I only wish I could afford to live here and be in the hubbub of the south. Faced with the prospect of a new house we are dreaming of renovations and gardens. A book Andrew has borrowed fell into my hands and I have already begun planning what veg we will have in our raised beds.

That has inspired me to start journalling again.
And at that point, I stopped again. Tommorrow I am going back to Wiltshire to put aforementioned Woot Bass into the paws of a useless Estate Agent.