Monday, 29 June 2015

Where am I?

 Early doors saw a hearty breakfast, the type that doesn't induce joining the queue for the pre race bog or losing time trying to peel off layers of skin tight lycra before crouching over a nettle.
 Yes it was time for the Clun festival of cycling, and as its British summertime the weather was suitably wet, windy and most unhelpful when deciding what form of lycra to wear. Now I was Billy no mates on this ride, the Stable Sprite who has learned to ride a bike this year decided that cuddling a pig was preferable to venturing outdoors and face 111km of the finest hills Shropshire has to offer.
 So as yours truly was on his tod a new strategy evolved, to go for a really fast time. This had two benefits, one to give me a real man test as part of my non training plan for the real event planned for the 25 July, but primarily it would get me brownie points with my beautiful and oh so patient wife as I would only be absent from HQ for half the time planned. So without further ado, or map checks, I set off, crossed the start line 30th out of 200 and 25 miles out was fourth with one hour twenty minutes on the clock. Part of my go as fast as possible strategy was to ignore the feed stations as this was time ill spent and anyway I had enough to feed a small army in my pockets so feed station one hove into view for a second or two as I shot past chasing three riders in front who also had the same strategy. Two marshalls watched as I disappeared around the bend. This is where it went very wrong as five miles on I was faced with a crossroads, no signs and no cyclists. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. No one came to the crossroads so I headed back and found a few old folks chatting who cheerily told me they had seen a load of cyclists and they went that way, pointing to the crossroads. Theres a sign they told me. I dutifully returned and waited, watching the time tick by, no records were going to be broken now. By the time I worked out that the old folk were referring to me as the cyclists seen heading that way I was contacting Stable Sprite who in between pig love moments took time to look on the map to try and help me. He did, he confirmed what I knew, I was lost. At this point another farmer appeared and shouted they went that way so I thanked him and headed off. This turned out to be a big fat lie, but at least I was heading somewhere, which led to anywhere and then unbelievably back to a point I recognised so the last ten miles had been one big circle. So with 35 miles on the clock and over an hour wasted I decided to pilot my bike back along the route already taken and call it a day. This is where things changed for the better for as I fought my way back up a 20% hill another Mammil shot past going down so I quickly turned and chased after him. He stopped at the X roads and I explained the above. We both got maps out, mine would have been more help with glasses but I bluffed my way along with my new companion, so we teamed up and set off. Ten miles on and after the biggest hill I have ever cycled up, Stieper stones anyone? we miraculously found our way back on the proper race route and turned up the pace trying to make good a disaster. Feed station 2 we refuelled and cracked on over taking around a dozen riders over the next 35 miles crossing the finish line in 6 hours 46 minutes having done 86.21 miles. Time includes time spent sitting around waiting for help.

So my new found friend and I told the organisers that if medals were being dished out for longest distance it was a definite that we would win. It was at this point that the organisers owned up to a slight organisational error. Food station 1 was off route, a small spur, once there you were to double back and head off another way. Had we stopped then this info would have been made obvious, instead the marshals just watched as we raced past, bless em!
So for all nerdy types, total time out 6 hours 46 mins, av speed 12.48 mph max speed 45 mph, ascent 6300 feet.
Luckily MBAOSPW was as ever very understanding when yours truly rolled up 4 hours later than planned full of tales of an epic adventure.

Beach bums part deux

 We are experiencing technical hitches at Rock HQ with the internet again hence the scarcity of posting and lack of pictures.
 So heres a couple more from our trip to Aberaron
which is very pictureskew.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Beach bums

 Every day is a holiday at Rock HQ, well kind of.
 Its a joy having all these critters to look after
 and lets face it its highly entertaining.
 But today we escaped and the apprentice and rug rat mkII
made good use of the pirate ship which was almost as entertaining as watching the critters.

Friday, 26 June 2015

A born trier

 Daffodil, who is now one of our oldest Ryelands, bottle fed from a pup, more trouble than she is ever worth (but not as much trouble as Roxy who was forever trying to shuffle off her mortal coil) made a good go of following the rest of the departed flockers by chucking herself off the cliff at the back of the cottage.
 Here she is stuck, quite literally, between a rock and hard place
 and here is a front on picture after yours truly climbed over to lift her out, or rather tip her backwards and cajole her back up the rock face.
Meantime Nemo was taking it easy on the Donkey's breakfasts.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

High on a hill

The view across to Worzel Wood from the Bonsai Mountain. All good training for the man test 25 July 2015.
The logo for my next challenge. More to follow.

Monday, 22 June 2015

The longest father's day

 I didn't make it to the top of the Bonsai Mountain to watch the solstice sunrise but did make it to a good enough
 viewpoint, the badgers set, the one visible from space.
 So yours truly shared the moment with Poppy triever as in my haste to get somewhere before the sun rays I left the Berners behind.
 It was, it has to be said, a real treat, the sun peaking around Stanner Rocks and hitting us with its warmth
 which we knew wouldn't last as across the valley a line of rain clouds advanced
 so we made the most of what was the sunniest part of the day.
 This is us walking back along the lane, the sun on our backs.
Back at HQ, several hours later,  rug rat mkII and the apprentice treated yours truly to a traditional fathers day involving repairing scalextrix tracks, looking for lost cars, stopping the electric train set from being an aeroplane and taking jam sandwiches out of the DVD player. My beautiful and oh spo patient wife laid on an impressive lunch which supergrandma and lil Bef helped us eat. In all a lovely day despite it being the 6th anniversary of MBAOSPW losing her father to prostate cancer.
A big thank you to all Dad's everywhere, and to mine for putting up with me.

Armagedon it

Here is Will.I.Am exploring what was a field and is now an almost pond, although given the size of it the Stable Sprite is digging a lake.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Donkey Sanctuary

 Only half of the day was allocated to this project today so its around half done.
 If there are any bits that look less than straight or upright its meant to look that way.
Its also 2x the size I thought it was going to be/needs to be. Past experience has taught me that any spare space is quickly utilised.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Now thats what I call progress

 The free pond is slowly taking shape with the stonework being put together. This has nothing to do with me other than a bit of fetching and carrying.
 My job for the weekend, aside from the usual routine, is to build a donkey shelter where the now defunct duck pen is situated. Demolish this was first order of the afternoon.
 As ever, anything that goes on at Rock HQ does so under the scrutiny of the clan, who decided that as yours truly was wielding a sledgehammer then some scope for entertainment lay ahead.
 It was a hot afternoon and this took its toll on our biggest lad Reuben.

By end of play the site was clear and secure, well as secure as anything can be with three pieces of baler twine holding back two curious donkeys.

Thursday, 18 June 2015


 Weird summer weather continues. This has to be the lowest a cloud can get before its called fog.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

No instruction manual

 Rock HQ
 has a new chair
 which the apprentice has
 chosen as his own
it didn't come with an instruction manual.

The tidy up fairy is real

 Nature abhors a mess, or something like that, you might wonder who it is who cuts the grass in the wilderness, like here in Sheepskull Lane, well its the tidy up fairies. I found new evidence of their work as yours truly and the demi clan did a really early doors circuit of the Bonsai Mountain.
 I mean who else but tidy up fairies would make these neat stacks of wood
 all along the lane
and before you  scoff, think about it, the closest house is 1/3 of a mile away and A) Is a holiday home, B) Has an enormous pile of chopped logs and firewood, and 3) all this wood disappeared 24 hours later.

Sunday summer funday

 Bright and early the Red Kite flag was flying
 and George was waiting for a new jockey.
 So the scene was set for another busy day in the sunshine, recruiting new foster carers and ignoring all the numpties who wandered over with questions about birds of prey.
 By the time Mrs Stable Sprite got to ride George around dishing out balloons an answer had been found to combat the dullards who confused fostering children with birdwatching. Tiger beer, no tigers, Boots? No boots. Red Kite Fostering, no ornithologist need apply.
 The police mascot ran amuck and had to be apprehended for potentially causing offence by being improperly dressed.
 I did manage to skive off for 10 minutes and found this company giving away scale models of its lorry which were just the same size as my ever increasing airfix collection so I got a few or 7.
I also found some horses that were more expensive than ours but easier to look after.
The show ended and we packed away, it took around 20 minutes to do this as the team rallied round and loaded Gerry. It then took 1 hour 23 minutes to drive 458 metres off the showground as every stallholder tried to get to the exit at the same time.