Sunday, 9 December 2012

Eyes full of tinsel and fire

I know it's a cliche, but I'm becoming quite a fan of the Antiques Roadshow. Or more specifically, the looks on the faces of the antique owners, who are quite often just that, when told how much their precious item is worth. I'm sure any serious antique aficionado will look down their noses at the programme, in much the same way I look down my nose at a hybrid, the entertainment value surely comes from the anticipation, the greed and the disappointment.

I'm also sure that really doesn't reflect well on me, I mention it because I have been back home almost 8 hours and only just got round to blogging the Adventure. All sorts of stuff creeps into my life at this time of year, 87% of it so boring I don't even want to re-live it, the remaining 13% is Christmas-related and usually involves outlays of cash on number 1 son.

Ho, ho, ho.

I am also tremendously excited about the release of the new Peter Jackson film, "The Hobbit - an unexpected journey". Not just because it's a wonderful story and I love the way Jackson has created such brilliant films of Tolkein's work. Not just because there are going to be three films to sustain my interest for the next 30 months. Or because Martin Freeman is in it, and I love him.

What I like most of all about it is that it will give me a whole host of new analogies and metaphors to use at work. Let's face it, my training room is becoming stale and tired of cycling-related tortuously-crafted and endlessly-repeated tales of gradients and struggle, headwinds and changing gears. Etc. And when you start to hear people on rubbish TV shows talking about their "amazing journeys", it's time to move on.

Middle Earth it is, rings, quests, mithril mail and dwarfish steel, not to mention Elvish, that's the future. Come to think of it, Influencing Skills training in Elvish might just be what the legal industry has been waiting for.

While I'm on this tangent, here is confirming proof that buzzards like pumpkin.

We are creating some kind of food-dependency in our local ecosystem, re-cycling our food waste to those that need it most. I thought buzzards were carnivores, but it seems that this individual like the seeds and/or the flesh from this remnant of Halloween,

It is definitely Winter. I'm playing that game of trying to engineer commuting journeys for the better weather days. Or rather, the least crap weather days. I almost made it this week, cycling in to and back from Bristol on Friday. It was cool, damp, windy and mucky, but apart from that it was OK. Oh, and icy as well.

Friday's route was fairly slow because I wanted to get to both work and home with my collarbones intact, darkness, despite lights, being the inhibiting factor. And I finally had to wash the bike, it was so mucky, which was a bit annoying because I knew I would be washing it again today.

As is the way, yesterday, which was jobs and "take junior swimming day" was sunny and clear, dry and crisp, not a breath of wind. Today was dank, drizzly, and ferociously windy. I had planned the ACG route with the Winter in mind, avoid flat places covered in water or exposed to the gales, and try some new hills. I also decided to take the ride leader bit far too seriously today (did anyone notice?). We had a couple of newbies, nice chaps, but not quite making it up Cheddar gorge as fast as the other six plus me.

I hung back to offer route guiding and encouragement, but eventually they agreed/told me to go on ahead, and as they had to be somewhere by 11, it all worked out amicably.

On other hills and descents I tried to shepherd/warn of hazards, in a guide of Aragorn-like way, a bit gruff, a bit rough, but well-meant and not too controlling. At one point in today's ride it did begin to feel like we were in the Misty Mountains as the tricky descent into East Harptree was quite literally now a river, a new ford having been built with some nice variable-sized gravel to throw you off your bike. This was not a a little trickle of water, this was "get off your bike and carry it" time.

Eventually coffee came, and we cut short the planned route to head home. Before we did so, we had one of those conversations about doubling back, figures of eight, out and back routes etc. Young Isaac, whippet thin and clearly the only sensible one amongst us, looked up from his empty plate at the so-called adults. And these people have jobs?

Here is today's route, and you can see there was a fair bit of all three types of journey going on, although I have yet to find a magic ring that can help me disappear.

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