So I’ve got my blog back from Von SmallHaussen, who’s been put back on the train to that London.
I had a great weekend - not as much cycling as I could have done (more on that later), but enough to make my total for the year to date 2,524 miles - just 476 short of the year’s target, with ten cycling weeks left to go. It’s not in the bag yet, but getting a whole lot closer!
When I was out on Saturday morning, I stopped as I passed the Swan Hunter (ex-) shipyard on the Tyne at Wallsend. Lots of the equipment has now been sold off, and they’re dismantling the cranes to ship ‘em out to wherever in the world they’re going:
It’s kinda sad really - the union leaders say that yard’s workers were let down by the management - who had to work with what they’d got. But with so few jobs on the order book, this unfortunately included unions who’s leaders were interested only in stringing out the little work the yard had for as long as possible. In the end, the customer had enough of the delays & problems, and towed the last vessel to Glasgow for completion. The front line shipbuilding men were open to improving productivity and changing how they worked to save their jobs for the long term. Their unions were too short sighted to see past a hole in the order book . . . so now everyone’s a loser.
ANYWAY . . . While I was stopped, I called my friend The Irishman to see if he was up and about & in the mood for cycling. Turns out that he was . . . but not locally. He was just waiting for one of his work colleagues, and then they were off to Newcastle Central Station to get the train to Carlisle. And then they were going to cycle the 77 miles back across the northern spur of the Pennines, along National Cycle Route 72.
Hmmmmm . . . . Well, I went to meet them at the Irishman’s house on the riverside, and rode with them up to the station. I got seriously tempted to go along for the whole ride, and even went as far as phoning Wife to see how she’d feel about me being absent for the whole day. In the end, there were several factors that made me decide NOT to do the ride:
- This would basically be a totally unplanned century ride by the time I’d got in & out of Newcastle. I seemed to remember reading somewhere that doing this sort of thing unplanned was not the best of ideas.
- I was on Trixie The Fixie, and the ride would be in extremely hilly. Not such a problem on the way up, but a nightmare on the way down!
- Trixie has a flip-flop hub, with a 15-tooth fixed sprocket & a 16-tooth freewheel, so I could have flipped it over to get around the problem. Except the chain was too short for this, and the axle wouldn’t have properly mated with the forward-facing drop-outs. I spent an hour on Saturday afternoon fixing this, by adding an extra link to the chain.
- Much of the route is on cycle tracks rather than roads, and with Trixie’s 700×2c tyres, I wasn’t sure this was a good idea
- We were going to a party on Saturday night, and I didn’t want to be too cream crackered to enjoy it.
So I did the rest of my ride alone. In the afternoon, we all went into Tynemouth, and browsed the fleamarket & shops while Daughter had her Stage class. In one of the shops, Von SmallHaussen & I picked up some useful accessories for the party - it was themed as a Skool [sic.] Disco, so she got a “Head Girl” badge, and I got one saying “Prefect”. Actually, mine said “Perfect” - not that I have an ego problem.
Speaking of the party . . . photos!
Here’s one of (L-R) Von SmallHaussen, Wife & Round The Corner Friend. I have no idea why Von SmallHaussen has a riding crop - perhaps it reflects the kind of school she went to:
And here’s one of me with Shana. No, that’s not actually my school uniform, and nor are those freckles real, and no, I don’t normally have my hair like that:
Daughter came along to the party, but with the intention of sleeping upstairs. No chance of that though (NOISE!), so at about 10:30, she and I headed home, leaving the rest of the decadent kids to party on ’till the wee small hours.
And on Sunday, I tried making bagels. I made three kinds - sultana, pecan & honey; sultana & cinnamon; sultana honey & rosemary. A partial success, as I forgot to leave all but the rosemary ones to rise again after I’d made the bagel shapes. So 2/3 of my bagels resemble rather tasty but very chewy chain links. Better luck next time!