Saturday, 22 December 2012


We went to the zoo today.

We travelled on an underground train and the top deck of a bus, we walked and walked and walked and saw lions, giraffes, zebra, monkeys, gorillas and penguins!!!

Best of all, we did it all with cousin Otto :-)

What a day!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Saved by So-loves...

Struggling to contain an energised little man, and unwilling to resort to Cbeebies (tv) we went for a sunset/night walk-ride in the woods. All going well until we realised we had forgotten C's gloves (note Charlies unimpressed expression).  A disaster resulting in zero movement and high volume whinging (justified as it was pretty chilly).

All was lost until.... I remembered when dad and I were in a similar situation (me aged 8) and dad invented the so-love... socks worn on the hands!

Problem solved we continued and all was well (just dont mention the cold feet!).

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Muddy Rides...

Are lots of fun, but the Specialized Hotwalk lacks a little bit of mud clearance!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Monday, 26 November 2012

Speed tractor!

Charlie can pedal! All he has to do now is combine that with his balance biking and we are off (I wonder if FC will bring him a bike with pedals?)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Had enough of BBC bashing...?

OK, so there have been significant flaws in the recent performance of the BBC... but I think a little context is required.  Yes, the reciept of the licence fee makes the BBC liable to a greater level of public scrutiny that most other organisations and yes there seem to have been some recent mistakes and some historical cover ups.  But there isn't enough to justify the recent BBC bashing, it almost seems as though some people are using these issues as cover to stage a greater raid on what they see as an overly-liberal arts organisation.  Surely not!

Anyhow, had enough?  This should help get you back in the mood...

I feel a letter to someone coming on... 'Defend your BBC!' (and please make another series of Sherlock.  Oh, and Luther too while you're about it).

Monday, 12 November 2012

slow progress

theres nothing more sticky to a little boys eyes than a toy shop window!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Hide and Seek...

... isn't as always as hard as it sounds :)

Apologies for the rotated picture... iPads can be infuriating!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

CCC ultramarathon...

... was everything I hoped it would be and more.

The 100 km CCC is the little brother in the UTMB family of races, with the UTMB being the Daddy (or Mumma, depending on your viewpoint) at 160km.  And 100 km was more that enough for me!  I was lucky that Jon & Andy had succumbed to my persuations back last winter and also signed up.  Not only did that mean they had sorted a proper posh apartment right in the middle of Chamonix, but they had also come with Kate and Cath who were fantastic in their support, but it also meant that I had equally nervous company on the start line.

From CCC UTMB August 2012

The weather on the day was bad enough for the organisers cut two of the high passes out and shortened the route from 100 km to 90 km.  With pretty constant rain and snow all day it was the right decision, and I was glad to have all the mandatory kit (thanks to the Holtons, Elias and Mozza for the borrowed bits and bobs).

Since I have zero tolerance for race reports in blogs that go on for multiple pages and list 'and then I ran uphill, and felt tired etc' so I'll keep this pretty brief...

The highs outnumbered the lows to a ratio of about 4:1.  But the lows were pretty low, this was halfway, I'd  bonked by accident and just realised how far left there was.  It's pretty safe to describe it as a low...

From CCC UTMB August 2012

From CCC UTMB August 2012

This was belting down a 10 km alpine singletrack in the snow.  A high...

From CCC UTMB August 2012

As was finishing...

From CCC UTMB August 2012

About 1900 people started, of which about 1600 finished. The winner (a 40 year old Spanish bloke) blazed round in just under 9 hours.  I dragged myself round in 13:20 in 119th place, where he found those 4 hours and 20 minutes I'm not sure, but the sense of wonder I have at how fast he must have run up and down those mountains is one the best bits of the whole weekend for me.

There was so much that I learnt, and most of it had bog-all to do with ultramarathons.  The power of a good-old mantra was one ("choices" seemed to work for me, thanks to Prof Tim Noakes and his Central Governor theory of fatigue for that one - listen here) as well as the importance of a photo of something important to look at when you fancy stopping:

From Charlie June, Pat, top barn tri and 2010 sixth form leavers dinner

Nothing gets you through the dark and rain like thinking about how you'd explain to your son why you gave up when you were 'a bit wet and cold...'

Yes - I am going back next year.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Summer holidays....

... Are not the reason I'm a teacher, but they are certainly a mega bonus :)

It gives me a chance to do loads of things with the C-dawg which we normally wouldn't have the time to enjoy.

Last week the bonus activity was camping with my family.  We were lucky with the weather as while camping in the rain is crappy, camping in the rain with a 2 year old is crappy-squared.  As it was the sun shone and all was well in the world (6 hours sleep a night notwithstanding)

Fun time activities included all the classics: the beach, a petting zoo, bike adventures, meeting your cousins/aunties/uncles for the first (first while being a conscious human at least) time, scoffing camp food and riding in wheelbarrows...

From phone dumping camping holiday charlie august 2012

These are the days you talk about in years to come when he is tired of the stories of 'when he was little' and you are tired of the stroppy teenager he's become :)

Monday, 23 July 2012

10 Peaks...

Never having been to the Lake District before I thought 45 miles taking in the 10 highest peaks wouldn't be too bad.  My running Buddy Elias agreed, 4 mph is walking pace, and I can run so 11 hours?... how hard can that be?

In fact, if were weren't so naive I would have looked less confident in this "2 am getting ready" photo.

From 10 peaks race lake district

Although we didn't look as confident as the guys returning from a Stag do was we left for the start.

From 10 peaks race lake district

Fair-play, there were your totally opposite of drunk and angry, just drunk!  They couldn't believe that we were off to race.

Once the race was going it turned out that the challenge wasn't really the distance or the climbing (although both were tough) it was the going underfoot.  We must have run about 30% of it, the rest was walking on rocks/grass, at one point (Scafell Pike to Scafell and return) we averaged 1 mph, thats a 60 min/mile!

Having said all of that, it was great with the huge bonus on the day was the weather.  The first peak was Helvellen, which we got to just as the sun rose.

From 10 peaks race lake district

Helvellen was followed by a 3 hour bog slog - epic in wetness and mingingness.  The only saving grace was the comedy b*lls**t banter (which Elias and I specialise in) and the rising sun.

From 10 peaks race lake district

From 10 peaks race lake district

After that was 8 peaks, lots of rocks, scree, rocks and scree.

From 10 peaks race lake district

From 10 peaks race lake district

From 10 peaks race lake district

From 10 peaks race lake district

Peak 9 was the breaker.  We were hanging and it was an epic trek.  But somehow getting there changed everything, from struggling to loving it took about 30 seconds of standing on the top and the nice marshal giving us a chocolate bar each out of his own bag (he could obviously see through my 1000-yard-stare and into my empty and exhausted soul).

From 10 peaks race lake district

From there it was only 6 more hours of movement, but after that point sacking it off was never on the cards again.  Even as we passed within spitting distance of the finish before starting our last peak, Skiddaw.  To be honest though there wasn't a lot of fun had on the ascent or at the top.

From 10 peaks race lake district

From 10 peaks race lake district

But from their it was only 90 minutes of downhill running in the dark to the finish (and straight into a 5 hour drive home, but that's another story).

Kit-wise all turned out good in the end.  My Inov8 Elite 15 pack with bonus scoff pockets was perfect, super light and comfortable while the Inov8 scree-gaiter things were mana from heaven.  Having slagged Chris off for having them last time I am so so glad I got some.  Awesome for this type of running, I didn't have a single 'stone in shoe' moment despite all the scree, what a bargain!  Not so good were the Invo8 319 shoes, well they were perfect for the race (comfy, grippy and lightish) but they didn't last the course and are trashed after only about 250 miles.  Not great for 80 odd quid :(  Poles were awesome (despite being called cheating sticks!), Fizan were the ones I borrowed (thanks Sara & Pete Holton!) and thank god they didn't bend when I fell on them :)  The last bit of top kit was my nutrition which worked a treat.  SIS bars, gels and energy drink were fantastic keeping me fuelled and focussed - big thanks to PJ at SIS for his support :)

I pretty sure that ranks in the top 5 of hard things I've done and also in the list of things I was happy to finish. 19 hours, 45 miles, 10 peaks, 1 blister.  Thanks feet, I owe you a nice bath!

From 10 peaks race lake district

And of course, huge thanks to Chris - my running partner without whom I would definitely have sacked it off somewhere near Great Gable (and who did most of the drive back - hero).

Monday, 25 June 2012

Welsh 25 mile TT champs...

we're my finest hour.  It was windy woo and I was on the road bike (as SRM cranks lost in post somewhere)... I squeezed out a 58, my reward for some proper old-skool 'no heart rate, no power monitor, no speedo' central governor pushing pain.

P squeezed out a new PB, a shortish 56. Happy days.

Charlie squeezed a big cake into his face.

From Charlie welsh 25 mile tt champs 2012

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Of all the firsts...

... ,and there have been a few, this was the best (even better than the first word!).  There are times as a Dad when you are desperate to remember every moment of the experience, as you know you'll want to play it back when he or she is grown up and gone.  This was one of those times, loving the moment but trying to absorb every second forever.  What a day!

From charlie first mtb rocky fathers day

Monday, 18 June 2012

Arrgh! Samsung customer service is bad, they hate customers and that includes me!le!

This is out of character but I can't take it any more.  I am stuck in a spiral of doom with Samsung customer services and have no power to solve the problem.

My phone keeps going wrong and is unusable (keeps shutting down while being used) and I've returned it three times.  The third time they said they couldn't reproduce the fault... and I had to prove it was faulty by paying an independent engineer!  After arguing for some time they agreed to replace it, but that was three weeks ago and I've heard nothing.  Their phone number has a 3 minute long recorded message then puts you on hold for 10 minutes before cutting you off!

Help! This has been going on for over 8 weeks.

I've had to buy another phone while they 'solve my problem' (i.e. forget about me) so am out of pocket and pissed off.

If you know anyone at Samsung please ask them to send me my phone back (preferably working).  In the meantime don't, whatever you do, buy a Samsung Omnia 7 phone.  They are dog and Samsung hate customers (or at least it seems that way).

If anyone from Samsung fancies calling me my customer number is 2114631711, I'd love to speak to you (and have been trying for some time).

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

I've posted base jumping vids before...

But this is a whole new level....

Great music, great camera work, great scenery but most of all - so very, very, very scary.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Town of Runners...

Looks like it will be a fantastic film.

There are screenings around the country,  but don't live near one and want a screening near you?  Then you need to demand it...

Thursday, 24 May 2012


When you're tiny you record a 'first' every day.  The first time you see a tractor knocking in a fence post can be a pretty big deal when you're 2 1/4.

This weekend C-man recorded his first triathlon thanks to Hereford Triathlon Club.  It was their 20 year celebration and the festivities included a kids tri for all ages.

C dragged me round the swim (2 lengths)

From Charlie First Triathlon May 2012

You can imagine transition was a bit of a struggle... Mummy's expertise in this area was vital in shaving off a few precious seconds...!

Then smashed the bike (2 laps of the hall)

From Charlie First Triathlon May 2012

Before refusing to do any running until he had his medal... upon receiving it he graciously decided to do the run (1 lap of the hall) with his Auntie Angela.

He's been proudly wearing his medal ever since and if asked how he got it replies, after some thought, "Unnning.... and Biking !"

A huge thanks to everyone at Hereford Tri who helped organise and the Tetley family for coming up with a pair of micro-poo-proof swimmies at the last moment!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

I have a notoriously low pain threshold...

But I am able to put up with minor levels of discomfort for a while (albeit with non-stop whinging).  And I've noticed that I've got progressively better at doing this (putting up with pain, not whinging... I've always been brilliant at that!).

It turns out that this is likely to be a useful by product of training.  Result!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

If Carlsberg wrote ebay adverts...

Then this would surely be their creation.

You'd better hurry, as once it's gone, it's gone!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Monday, 9 April 2012

Missing Charlie....

Because we're in Majorca (don't worry Social Workers of the world, Charlie is being ably cared for by the Dream-Team of Nana-Mo and Grannie-Annie, both social workers themselves).

We're having a great time, the weather is spot on and we're getting heaps of riding in.  Photos of rides in glorious sunshine and endless coffee stops to follow when I've downloaded the camera.  In the meantime a photo of Paula and me walking off another huge dinner.

There has even been some limited beer drinking! Although this photo is more for show than actual proof of significant consumption :)

Above all though we've been both enjoying the lack of Charlie (lots of sleep, time to read, 'proper' recovery (read sitting on you arse rather than playing 'mowing the lawn' or trampoline)) and hating it (lots of 'Charrrrlieman' shouts and looking at Charliemovies and Charliephotos on the laptop).  To give you an idea of the most recent movie from CharlieTV please see below.  Apologies in advance for the rotated film but I can't figure out how to do that on my phone...

You can see clear evidence of C's obsession with the number 2 and his denial of the existence of the number 1.  This means he's really good as some hard maths problems (e.g. the cube root of eight.... "TWO!") and not so good at other, simpler, problems (anything involving an answer other than 2).

Only 4 days left, only 4 days of big rides in the sun, only 4 days till we see the C-man...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fight your inner ferret!

A new study suggests that the 'runners high' is an evolutionary response to get us to exercise, chase Wildebeast across the savannah and wear silly looking compression socks.  In fact, it also shows that dogs get high from running too.  But ferrets don't.

What are you, ferret or dog?

Monday, 5 March 2012

Spring is coming...

If you're Charlie that means it's time to practise getting mobile.  It doesn't matter whether that's on a bike...

...or a scooter...

... the sun is coming and there is a purpose in the practise.

I've got a year older too.  Who would have known, sometimes you do need an excuse to sit in the sun and drink a coffee!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sugar Loaf...

Charlie's first Welsh mountain was a great day and a good learning experience for us all.

We learnt the importance of carrying Mr C for the steep bits.

From Sugarloaf Febbike

The importance of celebrating the summit.

From Sugarloaf Febbike

And the importance of hot chocolate for reviving tired toddlers.

From Sugarloaf Febbike

That's what we learnt... while Charlie learnt the importance of carefully examining molehills for hidden moles (he spent ages examining every one that caught his attention).