Monday, July 18, 2011

Hangovers and a Race for Life

Well the weekend is over! It started with a visit to our friends Mark and Sarah on Friday evening for Sarahs birthday. It was a good and enjoyable night but Fruitfingers and I, along with most of the other people there, got very drunk and therefore we paid for it on the saturday with a massive hangover.
On the Saturday we had a visit from my brother and father but other then that, it was a wasted and un-eventful day of sitting on the couch watching episodes of 'The IT Crowd' and a couple of films.

Sunday was slightly more eventful, we got up at a reasonable time and got a lift to the Costello athletics stadium so Fruitfingers could take part in the 'Race for Life' and although she was still recovering from a foot' injury, she was in better shape then last year when she had to do it with a rather large hangover.
This year our friend Sarah was taking part with friends and family as part of "Team Justice" and it was more fun then last year, having more people to talk to during the race build up and Mark was there which was good, having some one to hang out with during the race, compared to last year when I was stood on my own for 40 minutes!
I have to say it was a little annoying though, last year when Fruitfingers ran it, some people in attendance at this years race sponsored her but never actually gave her the money, but since then a relative of theirs has had cancer and luckily come through it OK. But because it had hit a little closer to home, it was suddenly more important to them to raise money for such a cause, when Fruitfingers has been doing this for a number of years and they wern't interested!

We also registered for 'Shine' last night, Shine is a charity based event for Cancer Research UK in which we are going to walk a marathon (26 miles) through the night, on the streets of London, and after paying £50 to travel down there and to participate and to lose a full nights sleep, I hope we can raise a couple of hundred pounds for such a worthy cause! Our sponsorship page can be found at

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Ride Another Run

I took another ride out with my fellow ECB Knights on Tuesday evening! Once again we met up at the shop just before 19:00 and then we were off. The ride was a lot faster then the previous week and I could really feel the strain from Monday nights 10k run on my legs as we sped along at the faster pace, with my thighs feeling like they were on fire.
We cut through the avenues, then up towards Orchard Park, through to Cottingham and then back down Priory Road. We then cut through onto a cycle path and followed it to Anlaby Road, we had a cycle around the KC Stadium then back to East Coast Bicycles to collect baggage before riding a hundred yards up the road to Pave for a relaxing couple of beers.
I was delighted to find they served Brooklyn Lager, my favorite beer, which I hadn't been able to find for a couple of years (apart from the bottle I had in London last year) and after chatting for an hour, I headed home! A very enjoyable evening.

I came home from work today with the intention of running another 10k in preparation for the 'Jane Tomlinson Run For All' in a couple of weeks. I popped to the shop for a Boost chocolate bar to charge my batteries before I set off. 20 minutes later I left the house and immediately found it a struggle due to my legs being stiff from Monday nights run, the first 2k was horrendous and not very enjoyable at all, but eventually my legs loosened off and I picked up the pace and was really enjoying the run until about 3k from the end when I could feel my legs start to tighten, managed to keep going until I was just 1k from home and then they totally seized, I halted running and walked a hundred yards to see if a short rest would help but much to my anguish , when I tried to run again they had completely locked up and I had to stop my timer and walk the last bit home. I was on track to beat Mondays time by a minute despite running slowly at the beginning and towards the end so at least that was a good sign. I'll now rest my legs until either Sunday or Monday and see how they are feeling then!

Now I await the imminent arrival of Fruitfingers with a Chinese takeaway for tea...yum!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oodles of Noodles

Yesterday I was feeling a little restless, I was in one of those moods to do something but didn't know what. After tinkering around on my guitar for an hour, I rang my old folks to see if they fancied a ride to the seaside, only to find they were busy and thinking to myself that I should go for a ride out on my Create "fixie" instead, until I finally remembered that my brother had mentioned a new noodle bar had opened up in the city center. So based on my brothers positive review of the place we set of for a relaxed walk into town.
On the way we noticed a bike show in full swing in the car park of the pub opposite our favorite shop 'East Coast Bicycles' and decided that if it was still going on when we returned from town, we would have a look and check out some of the Harley's, Trikes, street fighters, scooters and Super bikes that were on show.
The noodle bar was excellent! I ordered the large 'Pad Thai Box' and Fruitfingers got the large "Combi Box' and we also got the large sharing platter to start which included the usual things you would expect such as spring rolls, stuffed fried king prawns etc. The noodles came in those square boxes like they have in America, I always wanted to eat from those, ever since watching films like 'The Lost Boys' back in the 80's, I don't know why but it just looked a lot cooler then the take away cartons we tend to get in this country (although I don't doubt these have been about in places like London for ages, we lead sheltered lives up in Hull obviously). The boxes were also deceptively large and neither me or Fruity finished our meal.
Although the food tasted nice, at the end of the day it was just your standard Chinese food but cleverly marketed. Put in those cool little boxes and with the open kitchen so you can watch the chefs cook your food I was really impressed with the re-marketing of something that has been around for a long time!

Had my "One to One" performance review at work today, it actually went well which was a surprise to me, but other then that, today has been pretty uneventful.
I did just get back from doing a 10k run, my time was 0:53:40 which despite not running regularly, is way above my target of 45 minutes when I do the York 10k in a few weeks time, so my next running objective is to get it under 50 minutes when I go again on Thursday. We'll see!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Community Spirit Is Alive In Ella Street!

Last night was a good night; Fruitfingers had gone out for the evening and left me alone. So armed with 8 cans of beer, the movie ‘300’ and ‘Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight festival’ from way back in 1970, I had a lovely time on my own. I love Fruitfingers to bits and cherish every moment we spend together, she’s my world, but it did feel good to sit on my own and watch Hendrix play the guitar, drink a few cans and chill out and forget the rest of the world existed. I watched 300 and was disappointed after being told “if you like Spartacus, you’ll love this” actually NO, I loved Spartacus and 300 was OK.

Yesterday Fruity and I took a nice stroll to Planet Coffee on Newland Ave with the intention of walking down Ella Street and passing through the ‘Ella Street Festival’ which we had seen advertised the previous week on our walk to ‘La Piola’.

The festival itself was quite interesting. The residents of Ella Street had decorated the trees outside their homes, with a different and individual look to them all, from spotted material covering the trunk with cd’s hanging from the branches to stripy material covering the trunk and shoes hanging from another. Residents had put up stalls outside their homes selling various homemade items including cupcakes, jewellery, jams and preserves, clothing, teas and coffee, cakes and my particular favourite…jam and cream filled scones, which Fruitfingers and I tried and were delicious!

There were a number of other things going on as well; there were charity tents and stalls, a stage with various live acts performing such as the traditional African singers we watched. Also there were street performers and magicians doing their thing.

A couple of months ago, I visited Fruitfingers hometown of Hebden Bridge for Easter. Every year they hold a street performance called a Pace Egg, which is now a traditional and legendary event and what I noticed about it was that it really brings the community together. It would be nice to introduce a similar thing to the Ella Street festival, to add an extra dimension and focal point to the whole thing.

But it was nice to witness the Ella Street Festival and see a group of residents proud of their community and willing to celebrate it. It is things like this that a lot of society miss out on and it’s nice to see a part of the so called “broken Britain” that isn’t broken, a community that interacts and works together…truly inspiring!

The exact words of the evil dictator Margaret Thatcher, I am told were "There's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people and people must look after themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves, and then, also, to look after our neighbours." 1979

There is everything wrong with that statement by Thatcher and you see its evil consequences the instant you step into Britain. There is such a thing as society and consequently a public realm.

In Britain, this public realm is not valued as it is in other countries, so there's no wonder it's a "broken Britain" and it is noticeable, down to the smallest details. People don't generally drop litter in Scandinavia. The pavements are not spotted with chewing gum. If you travel on a train you will find a brush and paper towels in the toilet. That is only possible when everyone recognises that there is such a thing as society.

Community spirit is local people working together for a mutually positive and sometimes pleasurable result. This could be apparent at a community fair such as the ‘Ella Street Festival’, a school fete, or in more practical situations where a local is in need of help and the community rally round to provide appropriate support. It was good to see the community spirit apparent and thriving in Ella Street, so well done to them!

On a different note, I intended to do a 10k run this morning but unfortunately my knee is playing up so will have to give it a miss and fit one in during the week!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Fixed and Strung

Yesterday evening I finally got around to registering for the Jane Tomlinson 'Run For All' York 10k, After witnessing Fruitfingers do the Hull 10k and then going and doing the Leeds 10k, my jealousy/envy/what ever you call it, got the better of me.
So £26 for a six mile run that I'm going to have to pay petrol money to get to, let's hope I can run it in a decent time (I hope to do it in around 45 minutes) which will please me to no end.
I'm not raising any sponsorship for it as Fruitfingers has already asked everyone we know and I don't think it would be fair on them!
I always loved running! From quite an early age of perhaps 12 years old, I used to go with my dad and run 3 miles 3 times a week and always found I was natural to it. However, since I injured my knee in the summer of 1996, due to basically overworking it from playing football for 2 hours every evening and on a Saturday and Sunday, as well as doing a power lifting weight training programme on my legs, It all took it's toll and when my knee got smacked during a game of football, it was never the same again! Ever since then, I have always had trouble with my knee and from time to time they have been so swollen I have been unable to walk on it, but usually it's just an aching soreness witch makes anything that involves me knees extra hard work!

My guitars are now strung with fresh, clean, bright sounding strings so I can finally get back into playing regularly and enjoying the guitar as I used to before I became disenchanted with it when I was playing in bands, I'm just gonna enjoy it and enjoy playing for myself!

Yesterday I flipped my rear wheel over to turn my bike from a plain old single gear, into an exciting "Fixie" which I need to get used to, I hope I enjoy being fixed and losing the comforting and sometimes enjoyable feeling of being able to coast along without peddling. It'll take a bit of getting used to but I did go to work and back on it today without incident!

So ends another week at work and although I'm very tired and looking forward to a lie in in the morning, I'm going to go out and do a cheeky 10k run before settling down with a few beers to relax. I've also decided to purchase the 'Game of Thrones' books as a set, it's £25 on Amazon and after finishing season 1 last night I'm hungry for more and a few people have told me they are a good read!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The ECB Knights - Cruise No 1

Last night was my first ride out with the "ECB Knights" on my single speed! The ECB Knights are Nick, owner of East Coast Bicycles (ECB), Colin, his best mate and a rag tag bunch of ECB customers who've bought single speed and fixed gear bikes from ECB, which now includes myself.
One of the things I was looking forward to (apart from getting to and from work quicker) was participating in these regular Tuesday evening bike rides,, open to anyone with a fixed/single geared bike where a different route is undertaken each week but always finishes at Pave bar.

I had been very excited about my first ride since getting my bike last Friday and when yesterday finally arrived I literally couldn't wait. When it got to less then an hour before I was due to depart for East Coast Bicycles (the 19:00 meeting point) I suddenly started feeling very nervous and started worrying that my fitness levels were not going to be of a high enough standard.
Finally the time came and just as I opened the door to set off the sky opened up and the rain began to pour down. I immediately hesitated and tried convincing my self I would foolishly be the only one to turn up. I then thought it stupid that after being excited and waiting for so long about doing this, that I should go anyway and just see what happened.

A few minutes later I arrived at ECB and already there was a guy waiting outside with his bike whilst Nick and Col locked up the shop. Sure enough after another minute or so a couple of other lads turned up and then another one, then another and another, until there were eleven of us!
Pleased with the turn out Nick suggested we set of, much to our delight the rain had also stopped. Colin also informed us he would be filming the ride with a bike mounted video! I too had brought along my camera to snap a few pics during the journey.

We headed from the shop along my route to work and turned off near the Hull College at the periphery of the city center to head across to The Deep and then onto the river front. We then cycled along the river front to the North Sea Ferry terminal, here we then cut onto the terminal access roads and headed over to Hedon Road and back towards the city center. We then changed course and headed past my work and onto Wilmington Bridge (of which I have previously taken pictures of on this blog) and headed down a few bike paths back to Princes Ave and Pave bar. The route took approx 50 minutes and was at a good speed which I found easy to keep, my worries were totally unfounded!

We locked the bikes up outside Pave and enjoyed a few beers and talked about bikes and I had a comical discussion about Jazz (a Jazz band were playing in Pave) before the short ride home! Very enjoyable, can't wait for next week!

Monday, July 04, 2011

La Piola and cycling to work

So yesterday, after we had been for our run and watched the Wimbledon tennis final between Nadal and Djokovic, Fruitfingers and I decided to take a stroll seeing as the weather was so warm, sunny and generally glorious. We had only been walking a few minutes when Fruity suggested we eat out seeing as it was approaching teatime.
We decided that we would walk to Newland Avenue (a popular area of Hull generally inhabited by lots of students and an increasingly vibrant cafe/coffee house scene) and see where we fancied eating once we got there. After walking past a few places we like, we decided to experience a new place 'La Piola' a restaurant/cafe/bar, a venue we had been wanting to try out for a while.
We entered the restaurant and asked to see the menu and deciding that the prices suited us, we chose to sit out front on the veranda in the sunshine, in a nice spot with partial shade.
After a few minutes a very friendly waitress came and took our drinks order (a bottle of house white) and a short while later we supped wine and chilled water and awaited our meals. Fruitfingers ordered a simple pasta dish of Linguine, tomatoes, cream, mushrooms and pancetta and I ordered the Pizza Deviola - topped with red onion, fresh chilli, Oregano, and lemon soaked Olives. The food was reasonably priced and a standard portion size and tasted absolutely fantastic!!! Usually when I order a pizza out, I feel a little bit like I'm missing out on experiencing something a little more special to mark the occasion of eating out and not just something I could have ordered from a takeaway, but this pizza was something special and taste wise, I could not fault it. Fruity also enjoyed her pasta, of which I had a little taste and concurred, it too was a tasty and very enjoyable dish. Definitely a place to go again and I'm certain we will! Later we took a stroll back home and inevitably drank another bottle of wine.

So today is Monday and this meant back to work! Although I wasn't looking forward to another week of late finishes due to the day being unintentionally dragged out by the joys of training new starters and delays due to the plant standing down for a Cyanide charge, I was looking forward to trying out my new bike on the way to and from work. So I didn't find it too difficult to arise from my eternal pit of sleep and tiredness.
The ride in at 05:30 was nice although a bit tough, due to my thighs being very sore from the weekends jogging escapades, and when I left at 15:45 the ride home was a speedy dream! My other ride is described by my colleagues as an armchair on wheels, my new bike....a multicoloured razor blade! I now look forward to meeting up with Nick and Col from East Coast Bicycles and other customers tomorrow night for a single speed jaunt around the streets of Hull, ending in a beer or two at Pave bar.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Failures, Fights, Fitness and My Fender

So last night I went to my friend Coop Coopers house to watch the Haye v Klitschko boxing match, I had already been to the shop and bought myself 8 beers to take with me and when we arrived after getting a lift with friends Grant and James via a takeaway stop off, the first obvious thing to do was open a beer and talk about manly stuff such as Coopers latest DIY projects and general rubbish. When the other guys had arrived (Frosty, Edgy and Matt) we migrated to the living room beers in hand and Coops revealed that despite inviting us round to watch the fight a week ago, he hadn't actually ordered the fight. So for the next hour 5 of us repeatedly rang the sky box office lines trying to get through but failing miserably, all the while telling Coops that his organisational skills needed to be improved, and recounting tales of his other epic failures, much to our amusement.
At half nine we made the decision to ring up some pubs and watch it there. Darley's was the nearest choice and we set off beer in hand for the 15 minute walk. Once at the pub, Coops bought us all a round of beer or two, to make up for his failings.
The boxing itself was rubbish and I ached longingly for a return to the good era's of boxing, such as the 80's and the Marvelous Marvin Hagler's, the Sugar Ray Leonard's, the Tyson's etc.
After the match we had another beer then walked back to Coops house and James who wasn't drinking, drove us home!

I awoke today feeling a little rough after the many beers the night before and thought the best thing to do was get out for another 4 mile run, which we completed in 39min 50sec. I found it easier then yesterday, despite stopping a few times for Fruitfingers to stretch out and catch her breath and feeling a little hungover, the jog felt good and I felt better for doing it...after a shower that is! We even had some bonus entertainment as we ran past a group of people doing community service, removing graffiti under the supervision of a Police officer.

My agenda for today is to get back into playing my guitars, my lovely Fender 'Big Apple' Stratocaster and my acoustic Yamaha Compass. First job was to get onto Ebay and buy some new strings, then I picked up my acoustic and started reacquainting myself with the finer joys of playing music.

I also aim to watch a few more episodes of Game of Thrones before the days end.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

New Bike

So I was at work yesterday when I received a text from Fruitfingers saying she had a surprise waiting for me when I get home, of course I was excited, I love surprises, who doesn't? So when the end of my shift came, I jumped on to my Electra 'Hellbilly' Cruiser and slowly made my way home. I had been wondering and trying to guess what my surprise was since she had sent me the message earlier and had not had any ideas at all until I was riding past East Coast Bicycles on the way home. I had been into the shop a few weeks ago and spoken to Nick the owner about buying a new single speed and subsequently layed down a deposit on a particular bike that I liked.
As I passed the shop I noticed my soon to be new bike was gone from the window display, of course it hadn't been sold, there was only one explanation (it's a small shop and he had not put a new bike in it's place, therefore ruled out that he had just placed it further into the shop) Fruitfingers had obviously bought me my new bike and taken it home to surprise me. I was very excited at this point and increased my peddling rate, to arrive home even quicker!
As I came through the front door it was there in front of me, in all it's colourful glory, I put my other bike away, gave Fruity a big kiss and said thankyou and was just about to fly out the door to take it for a spin after a quick visit to the shop for a photo (Nick always takes a photo of his customers with their new bikes) when I received a call from my friend Alex who was on a flying visit to Hull with his wife Gina and was just outside my house and in need of a cuppa! So I sat there and chatted with Alex and Gina for about 45 minutes until they had to leave, then grabbed my new bike and off I went!!! All in all a very pleasant and lovely end to an awful week!

Started watching Game of Thrones last night, waited until the full series had been aired so I could watch it all at once (or at least over a few days) and I have to say I'm impressed so far, it's looking very promising although I have not read the books and have no idea where it's going!

Today I woke up still feeling lethargic and also restless at the same time so after the old folks had been over for a lunch time barbecue, Fruitfingers and I decided to go for a 4 mile run. Fruity was struggling from the start and I was struggling to keep at a slow enough pace to stay together as my natural running pace was trying it's hardest to pull me along faster! When we arrived home 40 min 24sec later, I decided as a cool down to take my new bike out for a 10 minute ride at a decent pace. I felt very good when I arrived back home!

Time now to get a shower and ready for a visit to Coopers house tonight for the boxing!!!