Not much room…

I‘ve taken my foot off the gas recently – Imagination at dis-ease; as others are familiar, occasionally ‘stuff’ causes one’s picture of reality to confuse, fail and break-up.

I am reminded that paradigms power one’s perception, and perceptions power emotions. When the mind needs to create, see and feel ‘more’, the picture can blur and a cauldron of emotion and logic can tend to boil over ‘a tad’… So back to the reuptake  inhibitors.

Hence the lack of something to blog…

– Went to see singer/songwriter Martyn Joseph recently; an annual pilgrimage over the last 25 years; but in recent years he’s left me identifying with his song but disappointed or uncertain with my resolutions. As ever, great live music but the honest emotion didn’t help lighten the load.

– Turned 43 recently, that didn’t help lighten the load either.

– The prospect of the overinflated season of ‘want’ that’s approaching, doesn’t help.

Many years ago, relating to a certain lack of support from an academic institution, I casually complained that I felt as though we’d been drop-kicked and left to flounder in an undirected… yadda yadda…
My perspective was turned when it was pointed out that perhaps ‘a dropkick’ can potentially lead to points being scored, a goal, an achievement…  Easily said…

Here’s to being drop-kicked and riding with the curve…
Recent ponderings… the nature of ‘motivation’ and also ongoing wonderings about the mystery, rhythm and austerity of the ‘natural’ world…
…oh and fungi!
Images: Bradgate, Beacon HIll, East Goscote

Which way would you go? And why?

On my commute yesterday, reluctantly, I had reason to take another trip through suburban leicester rather than my usual rural route, as the crow (or barn owl) flies.
You’ll be aware of my previous reaction to the experience of this specific suburban cycling route.  However, having ridden this route again, I still have the same opinions…
But I was led to think….

In life generally, I guess it’s my nature to generally take the easier more pleasurable option. Surely would it not be madness not to?

My usual choice, is relatively comfortable; I enjoy flowing familiarity with negligible hurdles and man-made encounters. It is raw, spatial and rich in the spirit of something ‘natural’ (?)… It’s relatively smooth and takes me where I intend to go… skirting intriguing worlds and lives with little incident… yes, it does have has it’s unforeseen encounters but it’s a an enjoyable option.

An alternative choice is a way populated with life in abundance. Much of what you’ll find is in either in need of care and attention, badly designed, or both. It’s past is evident, daily life and common culture are stamped on walls and faces. You’ll encounter raw humanity… ‘warts and all’, but also what you find is rich in living lives, both sweet and sour.

Do Robert Frost’s thoughts apply? Challenge? Avoidance? Survival? Common Sense?

Which way would you go? And why?


Look local first!

After unsuccessfully visiting two larger city cycle shops this morning, I popped into the ‘small on the outside, big on the inside’ local town shop. I was after a quality chargeable front light for my bike – for commuting daily using unlit country lanes.
It’s fine immersing yourself in the supposedly ‘this is what you need, ‘cos this is want everyone else has’ on the interweb, but perhaps ‘real’ life is more… real, amenable, alive…?

  • The first large Half-auto store I passed; which adversities “For everything to do with bikes…”; didn’t have ANY rechargeable lights and what it had was relatively basic and arguably not suitable.
  • The second shop (an old standard of Nottingham origins) was helpful and informative and although they could order some (can’t we call) didn’t stock ANY rechargeable lights, and again what it had was relatively basic and arguably not suitable.
  • Embarrassingly, my last choice, because I was passing on the way home, (and to be honest I thought it was a big ask for a small shop to stock a large range of accessories) to my surprise had just the thing!

They were welcoming, knowledgable and helpful.
The Serfas ‘True 250’ is just what I was looking for. 

The spec and the price was just right – and having compared it’s credentials further I’m very pleased with it. It was a great to be able to see and try a range of options before I bought.

Thanks Cyclops, I had little faith but next time ‘Cyclops Cycles’ in Syston will be my first choice.

Distant seasoning… drawing nearer…

That time of year again… when things hint at becoming sparkly, spiced and warming… (that’s if you can find your waythrough the froth, the jingle-jingle and the plastic saturnalia).

But if you fancy something different in December and you’re near Melton on 10th, comeand listen to the unaccompanied sounds of Global Harmony in the seasonedsetting of St Mary’s Church Melton.

If you’ve not heard Global Harmony before check out; a bit of audio.  You get a taste from the above, but there’s nowt quite like the real thing – if something a little different is your cuppa tea that is (with a hint of rooibos perhaps)!  I’m digressing and waffling again… or am I waffgressing… ?

Anyway… Global Harmony .

Feeding Eli…

You may be aware that we have a menagerie in the household with the beloved Cheese, Pickles and Bryher, (as well as umpteen inanimate bears and things) but our wet friends always give us cause to chill and wonder.
Over the years we’ve had a healthy tank and been lucky to only seen a handful of residents depart for the tank in the sky (bin). One of the oldest present residents is Dyson the 4″ Bristlenosed Pleco Ancistrus, alas not seen in the above vid as he hides under a log now and lets the younger fish strut. We have a Cameroon Armoured Shrimp who again resides mainly in his hole, but does venture forth to shed his skin occasionally. Another oldie is Cory the Corydoras who we’ve had from early days, about 4 years. The others are an assortment, with this spring’s addition of a few Guppies now continually populating (and feeding the big boys) with live young! Talking of big boys, of course there’s the prowling Sharky the Red Tailed Shark, who the little-ones let believe ‘is in charge’.
The video above shows the bidiem ritual of feeding Eli the Fire Eel. We got Eli while almost an elver about 2 years ago, then ~ 3″, now you see he’s about 6″ but he could grow to 20″…  w-e’ll see.

I never knew…

PZ. 114 “The Energetic’ (The Richards Family – Porthleven pre-1948)

Em and I have been having a bit of a ‘Downton Abbey Fest’ recently, watching the first series on BT Vision. We missed it the first time round; I guess sumt else was on at the same time and to be honest the prospect did not appeal.
But for me the notions of atavism, ghosts, ubuntu, or summint are never far from the surface. And DA certainly pricks a few bubbles – as did the new ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ last year. Where are we from and who are we? I never knew…
Yes, I ‘m aware that it WAS tough… and I have no doubt that “we don’t know we’re born”, but… watching these early 1900s  period dramas brings on a feeling of loss, a certain sadness, as well as a glassy warmth of romance and starched better values(?)
I know I was a babe in the 1970s, but the very little that I recall from paternal nana Daisy’s life from “Wilfred Villa” Breageside in Porthleven, is a world away from now and rings of days gone by that I never knew but possibly did get a hint of… 
I recall a pantry and ‘the cabin’. I recall the smell of the cliff-side kitchen, brassware and wooden furniture. Picture rails, chair arm covers, dinner gongs. I was of course on a lower level and recall the mystery of big heavy doors with wooden(?) keyhole covers. Big warm rooms and cold hallways. Big wooden furniture, leather, silver, copper… introduced plastic that struggled to fit with the rest of the room…  Leather satchels, big warm coats – we don’t wear big warm coats anymore! Cars without seatbelts, the back seat on the long trip home… the feel of plastic car-seat on my cheek… sleep.
It’s only a start, I really can’t recall what I might remember, who knows what we soak up when we’re young… perhaps ’twas a previous life… but I DO KNOW, I never knew something…

Sunrise Sunday, ultimately faulty?

Woken this morning by a poorly daughter – (barking like a seal on silk-cut). Bless her, she’s suffering this weekend. Calpol and ‘stuff’ are hopefully doing their thing.
So a bedtime cuppa for the wife and ‘Milkshake (5)’ for t’other little lady, and off out on the pedals for an hour. The outing was briefly awesome!

After a twittering with Martyn Joseph last night (sorry Wales – gutted for u!) I’ve booked some tickets for Nov. It’s been 5+ years since I saw MJ after probably 20+ years of seeing him at least once a year!
So I stuck an album on the pod which for the last few years sat collecting dust. The old MJ stuff has just not been resonating in the last few years, even a bit of a turn off… I’ve been on a different track recently.
This morning some of his offerings did again almost ring with recent recovering thoughts and feelings.
Can’t sum up the experience save to say the ride was bracing. 3°C, 8.30am, rabbits, pheasants, birds of all kinds but notably buzzards. We have what must be a family (4 or 5) that live nearby and this morning one joined me on my ride for a minute. It soared over the hedge and followed me along the road for 20-30 seconds before circling a field and perching in a roadside tree – oh I wish I had the Lumix, alas the HTC wasn’t up to the job.
At the moment I’m tentatively reading ‘The Shack‘, a library angel put it in my hand! (Another story). I’ll report back if i survive it.
I’d like to list the other cultural material that’s popping and fizzing at the mo. but can’t think. Let’s just say stuff’s simmering and I occasionally get a whiff of something stimulating… we’ll see… hope it doesn’t boil dry.
Highs on the ride this morning were utterly ecstatic; I find myself laughing out loud as I reach a summit or simply a hint of epiphanic ‘life’; we then roll back down to norms and onward…
My only concern at the mo is that ‘glory’ goes to my perception of seemingly ‘natural’ phenomena while I avoid the death and natural ‘fall’ also abundant around us. I rejoice over ‘life’, and it seems it’s the ‘human’ interference and conceptions that fail and mar the outlook.  Nature is a harsh if beautiful thing, I wonder if humanity can be beautiful as well as harsh and ultimately faulty.

Natural – Human?

Bike Uncategorized

A good old crusty loaf!!

With the challenge set after tweeting GBBO’s Holly a fellow Leicestershirianite(?), I set to bashing some dough round!

A good old crusty loaf!
As I pummelled the dough I was reminded of the muppet in the white van that terrorised me on the way home the other day.
I was in ‘my space’ on the road, with a car in front of me, and they (the white van) seemed to have had a bad day and were not happy (i guess) that I was in front of them? Sor-rry! Revving their engine and blasting their horn behind me, they followed me for a good 900 yards unable to get by. They did eventually overtake me when there was room, and broke infront of me as if to make a point. It left me a tad shaken and seriously wondering if all this cycling malarky was worth it!?
Yes, on the way home a few dozen drivers race-off accelerating away like missled lemmings after being inconvenienced for 10 seconds! Oh I do hope they get there in time!!
But cycling IS worth the occasional encounter with a ready-sliced roadster! Life is worth living. Breath is worth breathing! Time is worth spending! Bread is worth cutting!
I do wonder why so many people are in such a rush to get somewhere? Life’s too short to get their early!
Driving home from work used to take me 25 minutes. Riding takes me 35.
OK some may think I’m a bit of a crusty old loaf for cycling to work but take if from me – it tastes good!!!
Ta Holly!


Joy! Warm and satisfying? Cool and fuzzy?

We made time today just to chill – we took ourselves and the kids to Bradgate for a stroll. Just walking in the fresh air was a great tonic against the noise of ‘daily stuff’.
With the kids it can be* easy to make any simple thing into an adventure (*given opportunity – but that’s another story). An unplanned portion of cake and a coffee helped halfway round!
Just sitting watching how the kids are growing into little people with ideas and characters of their own is grounding. Emma asked “can you see the deer?!” and P said “yes, I need a beer!” (not sure where that came from).
The clarity of the autumnal sky is striking. The seasonal adaption of nature; shrinking, slowing, fading – the moderation from the ornamentation of summer can be cleansing.
Back home we had a quick look back at some home-movie of A&P from a few years back and were reminded of the miracle of growth, and the blessings of shared experience.
Perhaps it’s difficult to summarise feelings of joy? It’s seems to be not an objective incident but a fleeting human feeling or thought that can either be embraced or ignored? Let’s just say; if you hear a breath, absorb it; if you see a wisp, grab hold of it; if you receive anything, share it, somehow!
Joy and life will not last – if it’s real, then after blooming, it may well eventually relax and rest back for a new awakening with someone else, at another time, in another place.
The tides of Mount’s bay and a private Camelot will always come and go, at least in my mind they will. It’s miraculous how they can be ‘felt’ over high fields in Charnwood. Count your blessings, name them one by one…

My only concern is that this joy seems a selfish experience, and is often not shared with others. That’s what’s missing… I feel that light, when kept to oneself is not true light but darkness. If it cannot be seen then it will not rejuvenate, it may as well die.
Ooops slipped, this post was intended to be a positive post.
Had a good walk amongst blue sky today! Hope you have too.
Happy days! 


An alternative route…

Oh deary me… I’ve calmed down a tad now!
I cycled an alternative route into Leicester today.
For the last 6 months I have cycled the 7 miles routeinto St. George’s Retail Park from Goscote:
But I recently wondered if a less-traffic-ed less risky route via “cycle ways” and “the like, might bean alternative option in the dark or inclement weather.
And so ventured forth:
Oh Dear Me! I bit my lip and restrained myself with myinitial post-ride tweet!
“I’ll write more when I’ve calmed down! Alternativeroute into Leicester using less trafficed cycle infrastructure(?)AB-SOOOOO-LUTE JOKE!”
OK I am ignorant of the facts, and am not in a position to criticise, I should fall in line a let the affluenca drive by, but sorry, it was an absolute joke.
Perhaps because the road route I’ve been used to over thelast 6 months has been a relatively enjoyable casual ride all the way in seecomments here:
But I don’t know what to say about today’s experience.(forgive me, I am not familiar with the technical terms of the attempted cycleinfrastructure)
(a) the quality shared cycle way from Goscote to Systonis unusable between 8-9 as its FULL of school children. Try and use it at yourperil!
(b) the route through Syston, as oppose to the countyroute around it, is ridden with potential obstacles and hazards – It requiresfull attention at all times.
(c) traffic is heavier and faster and arguable lesstolerant of cyclists on this route!
(d) the cycle path area on the road (and the paths lateron) is frequently dirty and dusty with potential puncture hazards, I usuallycycle further out in the road to avoid such.
(e) the suburban junctions are busier and being used moreaggressively than those on the rural route.
(f) having to negotiate cycle ways that go onto pavementsand off pavements and then utilise pedestrian crossings etc is a confusing painin the backside.
(g) the suburbs are not attractive.
(h) the shared cycle way from Thrum to Leicester ispotholed, dirty and in a state of bad repair. Where this crosses junctions etc.protocol is anyone’s guess, confusing and hazardous.
(i) lack of a clear route across Troon Way at the oldThorn Lighting crossroads is laughable and dangerous!
(j) route continues in poor condition
(k) route through park for 2 minutes is nice (and relax)but not sure I should be cycling on the footpath.
(l) off the main Melton Road, cycling through terraced suburbs is OK butconstant vigilance is needed and roads are not in good condition and regularjunctions, parking and hump hazards need careful passage. Not to mentionill-informed parents teaching their kids ‘street survival’ by not usingcrossings and walkways but just jaywalking every-which-way! Don’t get mestarted on that!
(m) the rat-run through the terraces is not idea due tothe parking etc which needs constant vigilance if you’re not to be taken out bya pedestrian or a car-door etc.
The consequence of the above saw me get to work in astate of agitated high-tension, to say the least. If my reaction is subjectivethen the objective facts above are enough to rule it out as a practicalalternative. I usually take 30mins on average to cover the 7miles. This tripalso of 7miles took 40mins. That’s a 30+% longer!?
If city planners (or how ever it is that implements such) expect more people to cycle and use such facilities they areseriously short-sighted or indeed having a laugh!
Back to the country-route tomorrow.