Thump thump.

Sunday.16C white cloud, no wind and dry.
Thumping heart, sore throat and low energy. The first cold of the new academic year has come early this time. Last year, I was clear until after mid-winter.
This means no cycling and probably no more scrumping for apples on the way home.
Today, I hope to cook the fruit for freezing. Or, maybe a crumble.
The coming winter will be that bit more bearable when you can pull out fruit from the freezer to make something warming (to go with custard).
No cycling today then. Shame. The last two weeks have been good with about 170miles average over each week.

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Black facias

18C NW2, crystal clear blue.
Bike ride,tracked with MapMyRide! Distance: 54.64mi, time: 03:25:38, pace: 3:46min/mi, speed: 15.94mi/h.
Conscious of cadence, I rode in a lower gear and spun quickly with low pressure. Often, I see novice riders who are pushing too low a gear. I feel like telling them “change down and you’ll go faster”.
Such a beautiful day for a ride, the warm sunlight offset slightly cool air, visibility was vast and shadows crisp.
late start after working on the house until 2pm. The facias were all flakey with bare wood or yellow gloss visible. It looked terrible and troubled me like a stone in my shoe. It doesn’t sound much but I feel most satisfied. One part was quite inaccessible even with a long ladder. I finished by reaching out of the window. That was blind painting. I ran down to the garden to look after each bit. Most of it was done by touch, already wet sections feel more slippery under brush. There is only one small area that is out of reach.
That was quite a big job that started with something minor. In the living room, a strand of ivy has reached into the room and was growing up the wallpaper.
Happy now.

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Chernobyl Diaries

Sat. 18C,
Film- Chernobyl Diaries; a shock-horror film set in Pripyat, Ukraine. As you know, it’s the site of the Chernobyl disaster in the 1980s. The film makers have exploited the eerie atmosphere of that abandoned city and joined the genre of films like The Hills Have Eyes. The film would like you to to sit on the edge of your seat and jump frequently.
The story raises several points of note. The six characters soon break apart as a team under stress after the van is damaged. That leads to their eventual demise. My thoughts followed what could happen if they had cooperated. I suppose that’s the role filled by fan fiction. The genre requires elevated tension, fear and shocks. The characters behaved in panic at times, no calm under pressure.
There were some problems with continuity too: the reactor building featured, but it had three cooling towers, the real one has none.

Do you want a recommendation? If you have seen nothing of this genre, then you could tick off with this one. If you have though, you would probably share the criticisms held by others online. That is, there are better examples out there.

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Sat. 19C white cloud. No wind.
This is the strangest stone in my possession. It’s twice the weight, for its size, compared with others. It can’t be scratched with screw-driver and is slightly magnetic.


It does have some characteristics of a meteorite, the signs of surface melting, its density and metallic qualities. However, another view shows slight layering. That discounts another possibility- magnetite. There remains one other explanation- slag. I picked it up, over ten years ago, near a railway line in Wakes.
Slag is used as ballast on the tracks on many railways around the world. Since Wales is a post-industrial montaine landscape, its origin seems less natural.
If it were a meteorite, it would be the oldest object I have ever touched. That record remains with the Lewisian Gneiss picked up in Assynt last month (2,000 million years).

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Scrumping ride.

18C no wind, grey sky.
Distance: 18.27mi, time: 01:10:46, pace: 3:52min/mi, speed: 15.49mi/h.
This app is becoming very unreliable. This morning, it took 9 minutes to load, including many re-starts and a phone re-boot. This afternoon was no better.
Cycling jerseys usually have three pockets in the back. Today, I discovered that they are ideal if you have picked apples. These apples are from a tree that I pass every day coming home. It’s an old tree covered in lichen, surely a sign that the tree is clean of sprays.

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New term, ride 1.

18C, E3. Sunny.
Tracked with MapMyRide! Distance: 24.99mi, time: 01:31:54, pace: 3:41min/mi, speed: 16.31mi/h.

Back to work, first ride home in this new term. Sitting all day in work does not help my tendon recover. This last two weeks has seen considerable improvement. It’s still stiff, but I can bear my weight easily. Couldn’t do that last term. I must get up and about more at work, even with long periods of admin. The swelling has mostly gone down, so both pretty much match.
Some splits were good today, but traffic spoilt others.

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26 mile refresher

Sat. 17C, grey, WNW4, dry.
Warm-up ride for tomorrow, an hour & a half ride through routes not used by me for years.
Looked at Specialized and Giant bikes. They both do cross machines that are commute-adaptable. The Giant does not look great, perhaps unnecessarily heavy too. The Specialized may be a difficult fit for a rack.
Both makes used a mountain bike wheel-set, 29er wheels are The same size as road bikes.
So they’re standard sizes, that opens the possibility to buying a second set of wheels, one for summer…

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16C, rain most of the day. NW3,
Rain all day again. Summer rain isn’t so bad, though nice days are forecast for next week when we’re back in work.
Gardening- moved a bay tree and planted magnolia in its place. A satisfying, mucky job.

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Twice, in one day.

Thu. 19C, SW4, sunny. Nice day.
Why, on a nice day do some blokes lose their temper while driving?
My journey started with one and ended with another.
Near home, I pulled out onto a road where visibility was blocked by endless parked cars. Suddenly, a car appeared as I turned right. I cleared it by 2 car lengths and it stopped. He looked wild inside that car, stopped opposite and was shouting and gesturing inside. I don’t know what he said, both his and my windows were closed. Then, I saw in the mirror that he was reversing after me!
You can only drive so fast in reverse, he realised this and gave up.
90 miles later…

Near the end of my journey, a BMW zoomed up behind and cut in front, only a car length away. I blasted the horn in response to this threat. I was doing 40mph (the limit). Then BMW stopped in the road forcing me to an emergency stop. One brake light was out.
After too long, he sped off, well over the limit.
His advantage vanished at the next set of lights as I rolled up behind. In a futile repeat, he stopped again as the traffic rolled on through the green light. Again, another emergency stop for me. No, because he did it one last time before racing off towards Ormskirk. I turned, glad he’d gone the other way.
This and normal are distant cousins. Was it cocaine, or some mental illness? If he was in such a mad rush, why stop three times unnecessarily?

Almost there, there was a BMW with a brake light out parking near a church. Perhaps the road rager; was he a vicar?

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Why did I bother?

17C, NE4, grey cloud. Dry.
rode with MapMyRide! Distance: 19.72mi, time: 01:17:01, pace: 3:54min/mi, speed: 15.37mi/h.
Well, that was a bit rubbish. I set off hoping that the energy would come after the warm-up. It didn’t.
Probably a virus or something.

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