Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bike Envy

I am suffering from a severe and prolonged case of bike envy. Actually, it would be probably more accurate to call it cyclist envy.

As I may have mentioned before, I am a bit rubbish on my bike. I am no longer the slowest cyclist on Oxford - just, I can overtake old ladies now - but it seems that there are an awful lot of on-bike skills that I am yet to get the hang of.

For example, that neat trick where you are cycling along and swing one leg over so they are both on the same side, coast along for a little while then come to an elegant stop. Hmm, I tried that once and I fell over.

Then there is the whole cycling with no hands thing. I'm sure I used to be able to do this, but when I try it now even for a few seconds I swerve dangerously.

Also, carrying bewildering large items while cycling. I have seen, variously, planks of wood, ladders, tools, large musical instruments and full-scale trekking backpacks on people's err, backs. I carry a medium handbag and every now and again it grinds dangerously close to the wheels and I get a trifle wobbly. The same with two full shopping bags on your handles - I bravely gave this a go the other day and very nearly had a wine-bottle related accident. Which would have been very sad.
Phoning and texting on the go would also be a useful skill to acquire. It's probably not the best plan, but I have seen people who are really good at it. I answered a text message while cycling along the towpath once and promptly dropped my phone and nearly cycled into the river. Ooops.

There is also the question of cycling attire. I cycle to work and generally wear my work clothes (I don't often cycle so fast I work up tooo much of a sweat. But sometimes I wear my sandals or a skirt. The skirt thing is a bit hilarious. Best way I can think of to flash your knickers at an unsuspecting public, so I have taken to wearing cycling shorts under my skirt then whipping them off when I get to work. Only problem is, I invariably forget to put them on when I leave, so have to ride the gauntlet in a rather revealing fashion. And the number of times my sandals have made a bid for freedom - it's a miracle none of them have ended up in the river yet. That would be a good one to explain when I got to work.

Then, the Oxford cyclists holy grail - cycling when pissed. I generally steer clear of this one, preferring my drinking establishments within walking distance, but there have been a couple of times when I have been coaxed into town with bike, or when a post-work drink has become eight post-work drinks. Let's just say I didn't quite fall off, hit anything, or lose my shoes, but it's probably as well I didn't bump into any cop-cars. It's quite hilarious though. I know people who regularly cycle home absolutely plastered - and they only occasionally hit imaginary cats.

Anyway, these are things I hope to master during my time in Oxford. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Particularly the silly kind. Or any suggestions on other bike-related skills I should try to acquire.

More on that story later.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


A little assistance if you please. My mum, over at Quiet Pictures, has taken a number of pictures of me in the dress. If you could hop over there and tell me what you think I would be much obliged. The reason I haven't put it up on mine is because the other half does occasionally log in and might inadvertantly catch a glimpse - which would be bad.

Post any thoughts, comments or suggestions either here or at my mum's post.

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I spent a good portion of Monday evening looking for prostitutes with one of my colleagues. It's a funny thing to do. For one thing, I'm not sure either of us looked like typical punters. And you just look at everyone with a different eye. We didn't approach anyone because the ones we thought were probably on the game were moving at great speed (we thought towards the nearest crackhouse) and everyone else we were a bit worried they might just be someone's girlfriend. The things they ask me to do for work! And no, I'm not going to elaborate on why, but it was certainly a different way to spend a Monday evening.

In other news, I may have bought a wedding dress. I say may, because, while I have indeed bought a dress, it was kind of an impulse thing and I may yet return it. However, as it was on sale in Monsoon for just £40.50 (yes, you read that correctly), and the person I was with thought it was gorgeous, I decided to go for it. I have a week to return it so I'm going to try and get the opinions of as many people as possible before I make a decision, starting with my mum tonight. I won't go into great detail because my fiancee occasionally reads this, but it is really pretty and a little bit different. I really like it...

Work has been quite ridiculous lately (hence the lack of posting) due to a general lack of staff so I have been working my arse out. One of my colleagues remarked to me that I left no stones unturned in my patch. I immediately considered whether I might be able to find any stories if I went out after work and looked under stones. This may be a little bit tragic.

Anyway, I've been getting my reviewing hat on a bit recently but was disappointed to see that a line I put in about some band being pretentious was removed. Apparently we don't criticise local bands. Well, I do! The whole music scene here is a bit up its own arse, self-referential, slightly arrogant and with airs of pretention. Not to say I don't love it, though. It's just I'm a bit scruffy for all that nonsense.

Anyway, I'm off to my parents tonight to have a talk about the wedding. Gulp. I think the fact that I've booked a holiday to the Carribbean in October is not going to go down immensely well, given the complete lack of saving we have done so far.

But that's another story.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

And now the sun shines

I'm not generally speaking one to complain about the weather. It's one of those things in life over which I have absolutely no control so as far as I'm concerned, it's a bit of a like it or lump it situation.

But I have to say I am a little peeved that now, finally, we appear to be seeing a smidgeon of sunshine. Could we have had a bit of sun during Glastonbury when I was spending all week in a field? No. Or when I had a week off to do nothing in particular? No. Instead, now it decides it is the best time to be beautiful, warm and lovely. And I can't even enjoy these oh so pleasant evenings because I'm working late shifts all week. I could get a bit of morning sun I suppose, but that requires getting up early which I kind of resent when I'm working until 10pm. On the plus side, I had to spend about two hours in an airfield waiting for a record-breaking pilot to touch down yesterday evening and I'm pretty damn glad it wasn't pissing it down with rain then.

I'll just say one thing - I've got one more festival to go to this summer. It bloody better not be raining then.

More on that story later.

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