What is there to say? Except it’s quite a blooming marvelous sight…

3 weeks… from January 20th through Feb 8th our kitchen window saw the blooming of this creature. Thanks mum for the gift.

The first bloom is just starting to fade, shrivel, wither and die… of course, that’s another part of the story…




Bike Uncategorized

Life’s too short to finish it early!

If you are fully aware of the info below, please share this with a friend…

cyclebm– When passing cyclists, give them plenty of room, time and space to manoeuvre.
– Before overtaking make sure there’s a room ahead
– Allow plenty of room… do not cut in.
– Give cyclists at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.
– You MUST NOT overtake by crossing a solid white line… unless cycle’s travelling at 10 mph or less.


[Laws RTA 1988 sect 36, TSRGD regs 10, 22, 23 & 24, ZPPPCRGD reg 24]

Motorcyclists and cyclists

211  It is often difficult to see cyclists… Always look out for them before you manoeuvre…   Be sure to check mirrors and blind spots carefully.
212-3  When passing cyclists, give them plenty of room. Give them time and space to manoeuvre.


162 Before overtaking you should make sure the road is sufficiently clear ahead and that there is a suitable gap in front of the road user you plan to overtake.
163 Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.
You should allow plenty of room… do not cut in.
Give cyclists at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.
165 You MUST NOT overtake by crossing a solid white line…
You may cross the line to overtake a cycle if they are travelling at 10 mph or less.
You MUST NOT overtake the nearest vehicle to a pedestrian crossing…
You MUST NOT overtake by entering a lane reserved for other vehicles...


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Alternatively just share this post!    Life’s too short to finish early!


Memories Live On

We recently had cause to search out some material that might help some primary school children think, talk, discuss, understand… people dying and “death”.  I was directed by many friends of friends (a beauty of the internet) to what turns out to be just the tip of a wealth of material, and I’d like to thank all of those people for their suggestions.

SunsetTallIn turn, as always, the local library has been a great help! (Do you use yours? Use it or lose it I fear!?)

I have yet to delve into many of the titles but, I thought I’d share the list here – you might have need of similar.

My selection of stories that relate to death:

  • Water bugs and Dragon flies (Looking Up), by Doris Stickney
  • Badger’s Parting Gifts, by Susan Varley
  • The Heart in a Bottle, by Oliver Jeffers
  • Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, by Michael Rosen
    Also a friend of a friend also shared a great poem that starts:
  • A spider spun a silken web and swung from grass to ground… shared by Pat Bilsborrow

Here’s the full list: (in alphabetical order)

A spider spun a silken web and swung from grass to ground… (Author unknown) replicated below
All the dear little animals, by Ulf Nilsson and Eva Erikson
Always and Forever, by Alan Durant.
Badger’s Parting Gifts, by Susan Varley
Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
Dear Grandma Bunny, by Dick Bruna
Goodbye Mog, by Judith Kerr
Grandpa, by Raymond Briggs
I Miss You, a first look at death, by Pat Thomas
Little Elephant Thunderfoot, by Sally Grindley
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, by Michael Rosen
Muddles Puddles and Sunshine, by Diana Crossley illustrated by Kate Sheppard
No matter what, by Debi Gliori
Out of the Blue, by Winston’s Wish (Teenagers)
Tapestry, by Bob Hartman
The Day the Sea Went out and Never Came Back, (Helping Children with Feelings) by Margot Sunderland
The Goodbye Boat, by Mary Joslin
The Heart in a bottle, by Oliver Jeffers
The Soldier and Death: a Russian folk tale
The tenth good thing about Barney, by Judith Viorst
Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume (teens and adults
Water bugs and Dragon flies (Looking Up), by Doris Stickney
When someone very special dies, by Marge Heegaard to be illustrated by children


A spider spun a silken web (Author unknown) shared by Pat Bilsborrow.

A spider spun a silken web and swung from grass to ground.
I must find out the news he said, thats buzzing all around.
The garden creatures great and small were quiet as a mouse,
they saw the caterpillar crawl into a tiny house.
She’s such a fool said the lady bird, whilst polishing her nails,
its the silliest thing I’ve ever heard, said a pair of solemn snails.
And all the creatures went away all thinking she was dead.
Until one bright and shiny day A little earthworm said.
I see a crack in the little shell, and something moves inside,
I see a head and wings as well, come quick and see, he cried.
The caterpillars back, they said, before their very eyes,
A butterfly stepped out and smiles at their surprise.
I left the life you thought I knew, you thought that I was dead.
I did it just to show to you, we die to grow. she said.




Our orchid’s awoken, again.

Our orchid went to sleep…

It’s bloomin bloomed again.  {slide-show}

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We’ve had this orchid for about 2 years (Jan 2011), it was selling off cheap £5 from ASDA and looked a sorry sight with flowers dying and generally seemed on its last legs. Somehow it liked its window seat in the kitchen and regained it’s blooms until last summer.

At the start of last summer it dropped all it’s flowers and the stems started browning. In a last ditch attempt to keep it going I pruned the stems to the third widget thingy and it sat like a stick in the mud (with leaves) for 6 months.

In December the stems started budding again and 3 months later we have 3 flurs!

Happy daze.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” ― Homer, The Odyssey


holy habits?

JPRWhiteonWhiteOK ‘discipline’, again…

I like the idea of ‘soft discipline’ (it’s best if you), but dislike ‘hard discipline’ (you should). Don’t we all?

We all subscribe to cultural norms whether we buy the t-shirts or not, and in turn we all soft or hard
discipline ourselves to think in certain ways.

I shy away from many harder disciplines especially superstitious, ritualistic historical ways.

I guess there always has to be motive, or reason.

For the last few weeks I have made the decision to “shave my facial hair” almost daily (otherwise known
as my “shrew”). To be clean shaven – not something that I have made a habit of in the past.

I have been entertaining the idea of ‘habits that help focus the mind’.

This is not for aesthetic, religious, or practical reasons – but as a trigger to remind me of ‘mindfulness’.

At first this seemed an odd idea, but it has produced effect.

I can’t pinpoint what effect, but it’s “a decision”, a catalyst, that reminds and projects onto one’s world

It requires time and action. It’s a physical, visual, sensual and personal act. But what have I associated it

Attitude, worth, image, health, cleanliness, imperfection, routine…

As a single act it’s relatively meaningless, but when combined with other ambitions it seems to resonate.

It reminds you of growth, change, time, nature…

It reminds you of ablution, presentation, countenance…

It requires a daily decision, growth just happens…

To be wild, to sculpt an image, or to cleanse and routinely resolve towards clarity… ?

#holyhabits ?


Another way?

So we have found a possible alternative… not so pleasant but I guess it does the job… for now.

Two commute routes

Cycle commutes.

I guess the cars (& vans) win?!  I have been forced (for the sake of the children) to look for an alternative to the best route via road.

So a different route in to work, as an inebriated foolish crow might fly.
It’s half a mile (a few minutes) longer. The jury is still out, there are some obstacles to get the knack of and no school children at present – it’ll be a different matter when the oh so well mannered and respectful students are on the prowl.

I’ll miss the morning skys and sunsets etc as the view from up on Barkby Thorpe is often vitalising.
I guess I’ll also miss the inclines that get the blood pumping.

The new route has poor, fractured, token cycle lanes from syston to Round Hill School but then a good bit of new cycle way (sans kids) to Thurmaston Citycycles junction. We then weave through the golfing estate. Then it’s back on familiar ground over Troon Way and via Gleneagles onto Catherine St.. Cycling in the city is still ‘on road’ – I don’t find city drivers too bad on secondary roads (the primary artery roads can be different!).

After nearly 2 years of cycling, the reason I’ve left the ‘country route’ as the crow flies through Barkby (+Thorpe) etc  is that “the automobile traffic rules!”. It’s not worth the risk!
In my humble experience/opinion, probably:
80% of the traffic – most traffic observes cyclists, reduces speed and gives room when passing.
15 % of the traffic – it’s hard to tell wether they see you. They do not reduce speed, but luckily they do not hit you. The manoeuvres vary from revving engines and inappropriate gears, giving space too late when overtaking (they give plenty of space to the invisible cyclist in front of me), and the all too often “let me past ‘cos I need to copulate with the car in front!” speeding past you up the tail of the car in front just to brake late! I’m not going to mention mobile phones, make-up mirrors and nose picking.
It’s the 5% that are the worry – these fall into two camps:
1. “The Aggressive”: Not slowing, indeed, often accelerating faster (than the limit?) to pass you. Not giving any extra room ‘cos I guess they don’t care? (God knows if they see the cyclist). The impatient contemptuous ignorant dickwit attitude that cyclists are a pain in the front bumper and must not be tollerated and must be passed, blocked or bullied.
2. The “Ooops Sorry I Didn’t See You”: this is possibly the more worrying, “sorry. I misjudged it”, or “I didn’t see you”, is not going to help scrape you off the floor or put your head back on your torso. It’s people that are just not aware (anymore) of their responsibility when driving a vehicle – I guess they are “new drivers”, “infrequent drivers”, “careless drivers”, “distracted drivers”, “over confident drivers?”, “ill prepared drivers”… I don’t know, but there are too many of them on the roads.

If you don’t agree that these types of driver/people exist, try and share the roads with them from the position of a cyclist.
When you cycle, all your senses are engaged in the activity; you are “cycling”, not thinking about the radio, the windows, the make-up, the phone, the back seat, the glove box…  “you are cycling”, and you are intently engaged with where you are – you can’t miss the careless perilous incidents and obstacles when they’re encountered.

So the Queniborough-Barkby-Leicester road is too dangerous – it will only take one incident to put me in hospital.
Jury’s still out but for now, I’ll have to risk the possible prang at 10mph on an estate road rather than the potential ‘prang’ at 30mph on the best road.
New route many many low speed hazards and manoeuvres. Old route occasional high-speed potential killers.

Should cyclists freely share space on the road?
Should cyclists be given road quality cycling space else where?
Should cyclists be happy with 3rd rate white-lined gutters?
Should cyclists just shut up and get on or off their bikes?

Forgive me I know not what I do.

Bike Uncategorized

cyclists are foolish? raw rant…

Commuter cyclists are foolish?

Jules Richards  ******, when a car passes toooo close & tooo fast on a narrow country road and the potential circumstances flash through your mind, you stop at the lights and ask could you give me more room next time… a verbal slanging match ensues, culminating being told to sod off! You feel worse than ever and the week’s started well. ****ed off, feel like the crap in the road I have to ride through. Why do I ****ing bother?

[friend] I know how you feel, Jules!

Jules Richards  I feel awful! onward… I really don’t know why I am so stupid, just do what everyone else does… eh? “common”? sense. Or do what you feel like and ride against the wind – Sometime’s it’s invigorating but when challenged by other “travellers” often one feels on limb and a bit foolish. When you’re on a limb anyway it doesn’t take much for the limb to break. Cycling can be freedom, but also can be tense, dangerous and a stupid thing to do, given the circumstances. I’m not surprised people want to stay in their “auto”mobiles.

Arghijklmnopqrstuvw…x…y…. z.

[friend] I don’t cycle as much as you do, but sometimes circumstances lead me to realise the risks I’m taking and I wonder, if the worst happened, would I think it was worth it if I looked back? Think these things even more with two teenage boys cycling on the roads. The Big Picture: we can’t let fear drive cyclists off the road – there are so many reasons to cycle. But the Little Picture – with you and loved ones in the frame – sometimes doesn’t look as clear. Sorry this has happened to you today

Jules Richards on verge of giving in and buying a car.

[friend] A couple of weeks ago after being overtaken just before a blind corner I also asked a driver to be more careful. During the abuse he said that next time he would kill me. 

I do not understand why anyone would even think that let alone say it.

But I can’t afford to buy a 2nd car for health, wealth and environmental reasons. 

I am going to revisit cameras though and then report them all

[friend]  I haven’t really had any altercations with drivers, tho I did once shout at a bloke driving a Chelsea tractor and talking on his mobile. When he drew up later, he lent over and spat at me through his passenger window.

It is bizarre the amount of contempt/hatred British men feel for cyclists. In France, in my experience, you get only consideration from drivers and encouragement from pedestrians – because most of them cycle as well. In Britain, there still seems to be a deep-rooted attitude that the manly thing is to drive (ie sit in a comfy chair and let an engine do all the work) and only little boys and twats ride a bike.

Jules Richards seriously thinking of a camera, have been for a while. Not at ease about having to go that route though.




Well done, Leicester City Council…

Well done Leicester City Council: Close [thanks!]… but no cigar!

On 17 April 2012, I reported to Leicester City Council [via] a seriously dangerous pothole, a serious danger to commuting cyclists.

By the 15 May the hole had been neatly filled with tarmac.

Well done Leicester City Council!


Also on 17 April 2012 I reported some eroded road surface around manhole cover LE4 9LG. Another nearby manhole was tidied-up [thanks LCC], but the worst culprit within 50 yards was left untouched.
I reported this again on the 23rd May, eroding road around a manhole which is causing danger to cyclists. It’s getting worse by the week, now [21st June] a hole 2 inch deep is a seriously dangerous hazard to cyclists.

Also 17 April 2012 I reported to Leicester City Council a serious multiple pothole situation.
There were half a dozen potholes and crumbling road surface. It was [and still is] a hazard to cyclists. It’s likely to either bring a bike down or cause a swerve into traffic. On the 15th May, these dangerous holes and broken road surface had not been fixed and is still a hazard to cyclists.
On the 23rd May I again reported to Leicester City Council, this Eroding Road surface on junction. This eroded road surface is just getting worse. It’s a danger to cyclists. To avoid this you need to swerve into overtaking traffic.

As of 21st June 2012, both of the above situations continue to get worse. I will approach them again.

30th July 2012: Cyclists take care, 3 months it’s still there:

30th August 2012: yeah! Eh? Think it’s being fixed.






Take a chill pill…

Cycling to work is a joy and I can’t recommend it highly enough – however…
The below obviously does not apply to the majority of road users but does apply to a surprisingly significant number. We are all at different stages of life and have differing world-views but I believe we are all human.

Lemming like following… slow down and chill-out.
First observation is the motorist’s urge to get up the backside of the car in front. Traffic seems to flow in bunches of half-a-dozen cars. Yes as a cyclist I also occasionally have to remind myself to “take a chill pill” but that’s usually due to aggravation caused by the danger of mixing with hard, fast, unpredictable hazards. One of the most frequent dangerous observations is a car overtaking me although the car in front of me has barely passed and then the overtaker has to brake hard and slow down. The most infuriatingly dangerous incidents are when a vehicle, again rather than waiting a few seconds, overtakes on a blind-bend, when they cannot see a clear route ahead. Unless I keep my wits about me, sooner or later there will be an incident where an over eager driver will take me out.

Disregard for the rules… limits are not targets.
The rules of the road are “rules”. It seems these days “speed limits” are an annoyance and a quaint part of the british landscape. They are frequently ignored or read as the speed that one should be doing. A 40mph speed limit means “do not exceed 40” not “drive at 40”. Limits are there to help prevent incident and to reduce potential casualty. Most rural and  suburban roads are not built for cars to drive at speed. There is no need to match the speed limit. You will get there if you just chill out a bit and slow down, trust me try it!

Ignorance of common sense… I didn’t think…
OK the jury’s out but, the fact is using a mobile phone, eating a banana, smoking a fag etc are secondary activities and driving requires the driver’s full attention. It’s common sense.
Wait until there’s room to proceed. If you cannot pass a cyclist safely just wait 20-30 seconds and look again. It’s common sense.
Common sense prevails (to most) when you’re walking down the street. You acknowledge passing strangers, you might even pass regards. You don’t run when walking suffices. You don’t barge past or shout at the person in front.

Blaring music… pardon?!
OK it took me awhile to drop the habit but there’s a limit where the loudness of music becomes ignorantly more than needed and rude. Common sense? When the music (and i use that term loosely) in the car becomes music out of the car, then that’s just stupid.

Midlife substitution… shiny happy people…
OK it will always be, but affluenza is an annoying phenomenon. What makes me chuckle is over 60’s in expensive sports-cars, and suede bagged mothers in oversized 4 wheel drive trucks. And of course there’s the single successful’s in their overpriced accessorising audmwcedes. It’s not a crime but it is i fear a symptom of oneupmanship.

Single seater driving… why?
Yes there’s always a place for the automobile. It’s an amazing invention and modern designs are becoming increasingly effective. But is it needed for journey Y & Z as well as X?
There was a time when I would not even entertain the seemingly stupid proposal that I might ride to work just once a week. The thought of it was seriously ridiculous and absolutely not an option. A year hence I found myself cycling to work daily, and having done so for a year.
There are so many people is a similar position to me – driving alone in a car 3-7 miles to work.
Admittedly there are situations where it is just not appropriate and not for everyone. But
I used to drive 7 miles to work, taking 25-30 minutes, costing ~£3 a day in petrol +parking. (£50/month). For my previous journeys, I strapped myself, encapsulated into a ventilated carriage, and gripping the shiny plastic, smelling the fake pine, I was led along by the lemming in front, while taking in the pop-pulp-podcastic wittering opiate of choice(?).
Now I cycle 7 miles to work, it take 30 minutes, it cost me nothing in petrol and parking.
My endorphins are raised, my lungs and muscles are exercised. My spirits are cleansed by fresh air, nature and light. My mind is allowed.
If you drive under 7 miles to work alone in a car there is another cheaper, healthier and more pleasurable choice.

The analogy with smoking… cough!
OK this one’s work-in-progress.
We have come to understand that smoking is an unhealthy decision. It’s debatably costly, bad for you, bad for those around you and stinks. OK it serves a purpose, it takes the edge of life’s ruggedness and it’s a choice. We all employ drugs in varying forms but the habitual use of some drugs are unwise and destructive. The use of nicotine in the form of cigarettes has been recognised as an unhealthy commercially driven crutch that needs limiting and should be considered with caution. Today, many would consider smoking cigarettes unwise yet still many do smoke. Many people ignore the financial cost, the health risks and the antisocial cloud that smoking creates. Many ignore the idea that “smoking kills” both physically and mentally
The Car.
Some have come to ponder driving is an unhealthy decision. It’s debatably costly, bad for you, bad for those around you and stinks. OK it serves a purpose, it takes the edge of life’s ruggedness and it’s a choice. We all drive in varying forms but the habitual use of the car is unwise and destructive. The use of cars has been recognised as an unhealthy commercially driven crutch that needs limiting and should be considered with caution. Today, many would consider the use of the car as unwise yet still many do drive. Many people ignore the financial cost, the health risks and the antisocial cloud that driving creates. Many ignore the idea that “speed kills” both physically and mentally.


Life and Afterlife

Life and Afterlife?

Life Afterlife
Life Afterlife

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal