Saturday, 31 July 2010

Ridin' along on my pushbike , Honey...

In the name of appearing fit, instead of fat as I used to be, I signed myself and Mrs Giant68 up for a bike ride. I’m not sure that she was that impressed but I told her that it would be a good day out in the sun, I’m not sure that believed me.
Sky, of the tv fame, and the British Cycling Association had got together and with the aid of Southampton City council had shut most of the roads around the town centre for the day so that us cyclists, who pay no road tax, insurance or any contribution at all to the upkeep of the roads (I am a driver as well and I hate those damned cyclists!!), could take over the city streets.
It was a 10km circuit up through the town centre and round the common. I didn’t factor into the equation the ride into the town centre itself. That added another 12km, at least.
We got a free hi-vis vest and there were free bottles of water and energy drinks, “whoopee!” I hear you cry. Some lotion for my sore arse afterwards would’ve been nice!
Bearing in mind that for the last 20+ years I have had knackered knees, this is the first serious cycle ride I have done in that time so I was quite impressed that I managed 2 laps plus the ride home, a total of 32km (20 miles for those of you still thinking pre-decimalisation). All the time riding with our heads on swivels as the little kids that were taking part had no concept of the straight line, and the more sporty types trying to do it at warp speed would, invariably, try and overtake as you were trying to avoid a small person!
We could have just done the ride but we decided that we would try and raise some money for charity. So far, with money promised but not collected yet, we should have somewhere in the region of £150, all to go to Naomi House, a childrens Hospice in Hampshire.
So a big thank you to Ted and Karen, Nicky and Neil, Louise, Gadget, mum and Geoff, the Wilson family (jnr.), The Boy, No.1 daughter, Brett (who actually rode with us), Bob S, Jackie W, Karen F, AC, promised cash from the Fishwicks, Teddy Mac, and Sharon. And to the one person who said "Charities? F**k 'em" I sincerely hope that you when you need a charity they give you the same answer.

Friday, 9 July 2010

More expensive than Gold

I have discovered the most expensive substance on the face of the planet. More valuable than gold, platinum or even saffron. I read a report a while ago that said printer ink was the most expensive commodity on the planet, but it was wrong. I can understand that the manufacturers of printers and the ink that goes in them spend fortunes on developing ink that flows without drying out in the cartridge. Has the correct consistency, colour, durability, and staying power so that when you print a picture it will not fade over time. They obviously want a return on their R & D investment. But they have it wrong. They have the wrong substance.

Yesterday I went to the opticians. I had my eyes tested after 2 years, as advised. To be honest, I knew that they were a little worse and last time I was told that I would probably need reading glasses this time. I sat in the chair and read the test card, you know, the one that says




A mint out

Out of you, mug!

Then comes the fun. The funny, adjustable lenses go on and various magnitudes are put in front of your eyes and I emerge knowing that I need varifocals so that I can read and see things that are further away than the end of my nose.

Fine, they have deals on the frames and lenses so this shouldn’t cost much. £317 later and I am in shock, but at least I will be able to see.

Now here comes the expensive substance. It is whatever they use to make the frames of spectacles. I have bought rimless specs. They are nothing more than 2 arms and the bridge to join the lenses. Must only weigh in at few ounces, but they have cost me £120. I can understand the varifocal lenses costing over a hundred quid, as they have to be cut and ground and polished. But three bits of, what is effectively, wire? Someone is having a laugh at the expense of all of us speccy four-eyes!!

Think I’ll go online next and buy some that are manufactured in a sweat shop in India. They may make me look a bit stupid but they will be cheap. The lenses may be so poorly polished that I wouldn’t be able to see myself in the mirror, anyway. But I will still have money in my pocket!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A Tale of Two Tents...

Ok, so I went camping again. I must be some sort of masochist. I really don’t know what has got into me lately. I have started eating salads, exercising, living healthily, and now I enjoy camping. Will somebody please shoot me now! Before long I may turn all new age, and start getting in touch with my feminine side!

So, we loaded the entire contents of our house (and the neighbour’s house, I think) into the car and drove off down the road with a shower of sparks coming from the exhaust as it dragged along the ground. This time we were off to pastures new. Dorset, and Corfe Castle to be precise. We had plans for riding the steam train into Swanage on Saturday, barbeque in the evening, plenty of booze, bit of music and a good laugh.

It didn’t start well, with only four of us showing up out of the many that were invited, but that was their loss. The four of us decided that we could survive without the miserable buggers. Set the tents up and unpack the cars. Then off to find a chippy. Sated with a good portion of cod and chips, we set about demolishing a pile of bottled alcohol while we watched the sunset over the sheep and cows in the next field. Mooing and baaing was going to be least of our problems overnight as a group of Duke of Edinburgh students moved in at 10:30pm and made enough noise to wake the dead all night. And, yes, I do mean all night. In the end they were thrown off the site. But, by God, were we tired!

Never mind. We still managed the steam train into Swanage. Our daughter and granddaughter turned up for the train ride as well. Now the newest member of the Giant68 family is still not a year old so this was a big adventure for her, and she loved it. As she has me wrapped around her little finger I spent a fortune on her, but that’s what a granddad is for.

Barbeque was lit, as was the camping stove and we all set about demolishing a pile of food and the obligatory lake full of alcohol. Fuelled by the aforementioned alcohol we decided it would be a brilliant idea to climb the hill behind the camp and watch the sunset. We lost our team of Sherpa’s along the way and as we climbed through the cloud layer we could see the curvature of the Earth! It certainly felt like it! We all slept like the dead that night!

The sun came up and illuminated the interior of my tent. Why, in God’s name, do tent manufacturers not make the tent out of something that block the light from the Earths star? So I was awake pretty early, as always. One day I will get a lay in, that’s the problem with being a shift worker for the last 25 years, no lay ins.

Good job that I was awake, really, as we had to pack up reasonably early so that we could rush back home for the granddaughters christening. So with the help of a large shoehorn it was all squeezed back into the car and off we went.

Another camping trip over. I am becoming a veteran camper. Should I be proud of this, or should I be hanging my head in shame. When people ask how I spent my weekend should I say “Oh, I went camping” or should I just tell people that spent the entire weekend downloading gay porn?