Misleading & Manipulating Public Opinion

In today’s paper there is a story about compensating prisoners. The story claims “Taxpayer foots £10m bill for prisoner injury claims” Yet when you read the article, up to £3million was awarded for FALSE IMPRISONMENT! Thus the PI figure is at least 30% lower than the headline – assuming the other pay outs were all due to PI cases. Misleading & Manipulating Public Opinion?

Let’s look at these false imprisonment cases. These are cases where someone has been kept incarcerated without any legal authority. It is usually the case that the government agents have failed to release someone at the end of their sentence. If you were locked up without any authority for days or even weeks, you would expect compensation would you not?

The article goes on to state (re the PI cases) that Prisoners have cost the taxpayer more than £10million in compensation over the last five years figures reveal This is a complete fiction. It is negligence on the part of government agents/employees/contractors who have cost the taxpayer. Compensation is only awarded in PI cases where (in simple terms) someone has suffered injury as a result of another person’s negligence. In these cases, the fault is not as implied by the article that of the prisoner. Examples of negligence include a doctor failing to properly examine someone with a back injury. This lead to person being paralysed which could have been avoided with treatment.
Misleading & Manipulating Public Opinion?

Now, I’m sure you are sensible enough to read the article & realise the headline is trying to Mislead & Manipulate Public Opinion. Sadly however many people are not so perceptive & will blame the victim for the loss to the tax payer.

It is quite interesting to read this article in the same weekend as Louise Casey, The Victim’s Champion, Kier Starmer DPP & others are bleating about the need to change the law because a defendant recently dared to have his legal team defend him in court & dared to cross examine a prosecution witness. Apparently it is an affront to justice that a defendant dares to put forward a defence at trial.

What am I talking about? (A good question you may ask – most people do!). I am of course referring to the recent trial & conviction of Levi Bellfield for the murder of Amanda (Milly) Dowler. The murder was 9 years ago, but a botched police inspection meant Bellfield was not arrested for many years. During the initial police investigation, Dowler’s father lied to police about his movements & had been last person to speak to her & after her disappearance had left abusive message on her phone. Notes from Dowler had been found indicating she thought her parents didn’t like her. There also was no forensic or eyewitness evidence to directly link Bellfield to this murder. Is it wrong to allow someone the right to defend themselves & to challenge the evidence against them. Imagine I said you murdered someone in say 1925. You would surely want to put forward a defence & challenge my evidence as you were not born then. Apparently the rather short sighted remarks attributed to Casey, Starmer etc would suggest this is inappropriate behaviour for a defendant.

You may ask why I am trying to defend an evil person like Levi (anagram of Evil!) Bellfield? The answer is that EVERYONE including you & him is entitled to a fair trial & is presumed innocent until proved guilty. A fair trial necessitates being able to challenge the evidence put forward. We owe it to our own freedom to defend the rights of everyone in society.

A far more pertinent issue & one the media are ignoring is the fact that Bellfield was facing 2 counts but the jury had to be discharged on Friday morning as a result of the publication my most media outlets of huge amounts of prejudicial material about Bellfield after his conviction of the Dowler murder but whilst the jury were still considering the 2nd count. This means that 2nd victim did not get justice. The publication by the media (press, radio & TV) was in clear and obvious breach of the Contempt of Court Act and is the biggest affront to justice about this case.

I notice Casey, Starmer etc are not so concerned about this victim. Hypocrites?

On the subject of this case, can I commend to you another blog post which can be found @
Justice: RIP?
Posted on June 26, 2011 by wiggy
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

This week, Levi Bellfield received a whole life sentence for the murder of Milly Dowler.  Milly was abducted on 21 March 2002; her remains found on 18 September 2002.

Until her remains were found, police categorised Milly as a missing person. The Crimewatch programme which featured news of her disappearance included a direct appeal to her.

As is normal in any inquiry featuring a young missing person, several lines of enquiry had to be followed by the police, including ascertaining whether there was any reason she may have run away and/or self harmed, or if, in the event that something nefarious had happened, whether someone known to her, including her parents, could be responsible (child victims of homicide being more likely to die at the hands of a parent than a stranger).

As is usual, statements were taken from Milly’s parents and sister, initially as to her movements on the day in question, and about her general character and demeanour, in order to assist the police in making appropriate enquiries.

Those statements are evidence. Any statement taken by the police has to be given to the defence. The defence then decides if they want to question the witness, or agree the statement, in which case it is then read out in court. In every case, it is a judgement call as to who is called to give live evidence, and who is not. The balance that has to be struck is whether a witness will further the case you are putting, or whether they will actually damage it.

Often, the last people a defence barrister will want the jury to see is the parents of the murdered schoolgirl. It brings out normal human emotions, and does not do a defendant any favours. Why then, in this case, were the parents in the witness box?

Before I go on, let me make this very clear. I am terribly sorry for the Dowler’s loss. I cannot imagine the pain and heartache that attaches to the murder of a child, especially a teenager who at the time of her death, didn’t have, on the evidence presented to the court, the best of relationships with her parents, as is so often the case with teenage girls.

However, what we cannot afford to do, in our desire to demonstrate compassion and empathy to the parents, is sanctify them to the extent that the trial process is compromised, and to that end, I make no apology for what I am about to say (vilify me at will).

Going back to why they were in the witness box, well, Dad didn’t help himself.  Bob Dowler lied to the police about his own whereabouts on the day of Milly’s disappearance, initially not telling them that during his journey home, he pulled off into a motorway services where he spent some time looking at porn.

Those initial lies were coupled with the fact it was he who received the call from Milly to say she would be late, and he who then later left a message on her phone saying “Where the fuck is Amanda”.

The police asked to search the family home, as is perfectly normal and routine in the circumstances. When informed of this, Dad then had to warn police that they would find bondage material and fetish porn during their search, and indeed told them where it was.

Police also found notes written by Milly about the ‘dad issue’, which where later explained as referring to the fact she had found a bondage porn magazine in her father’s room.

Culuminatively, all of that turned the police spotlight onto Dad, and he was questioned as a suspect.

When a suspect is questioned, the evidence is recorded, and then transcribed. That too will have been presented to the defence.

As will the contents of any search, which presents ‘physical’ evidence. This will have included items the police ‘seize’ during any search – in this case, the sexual items, the porn, and Milly’s own notes.

Milly’s notes included a letter to her parents. That letter said:

“Dear daddy and my beautiful mummy, by the time you find this letter I will be gone, up there or down below you.
“I have always been that way – below other people.

“I am sorry, you deserve a better daughter so I have left.

“If anything, you should be happy and you can concentrate on lovely Gemsy, without me getting in the way.

“You should have had an abortion or at least had me adopted, then at least I wouldn’t have made your life hell as well.

“I think it would be best if you try and forget me. It’s nothing you have done. I just feel I had to go. Please don’t let any harm get to any of you.

“Mum and dad, please look after Gemma. I am sorry but goodbye.”

Put yourself in the shoes of the defence barrister. Your client is telling you he isn’t guilty. He has read, and seen all the evidence against him. He asks you to look at the following:

That Dad lied about his whereabouts;

That Dad had bondage and other fetish items in the house, along with fairly hard core porn;

That it was Dad who took the phone call from Milly, no other member of the family having spoken to her since she left for school;

That there were letters found in her writing, referring to the ‘Dad issue’;

That there was a goodbye note written by Milly;

That the two post-mortem examinations were inconclusive as to cause of death;

That there was no forensic evidence linking your client to Milly;

That there were no eye-witness accounts or CCTV showing the two together;

That some of the witnesses were inconsistent about what they considered Milly’s movements to be that afternoon;

That your client is already serving a whole life sentence and will never be released regardless of whether he is convicted of this crime.

Now add to that the Bar Code of Conduct, in particular Rule 708 (g), which states a barrister:

must not make statements or ask questions which are merely scandalous or intended or calculated only to vilify insult or annoy either a witness or some other person;

And Rule 303 (a), that a barrister:

must promote and protect fearlessly and by all proper and lawful means the lay client’s best interests and do so without regard to his own interests or to any consequences to himself or to any other person

Finally, remind yourself that this murder trial was presided over by a High Court judge. A senior judge who has seen the evidence, has read it, and who had undoubtedly, whilst able to keep his mind open, formed a view of the case. A senior judge who is able, at any point in the questioning of any witness, to stop the barrister and tell them they are out of order.

Hopefully, you will begin to understand why Jeffrey Samuals QC, who represented Bellfield, ran the case in the way he did. His client asserted his innocence and wanted his case ran on the basis that Milly ran away and was later murdered by an unknown other. There was evidence to suggest she could have run away; there was evidence that she was distressed by her father’s porn magazine; there was evidence to suggest her relationship with her parents was not as good as it could be. There was suspicion around the father. There was no direct evidence coupling Bellfield and Milly. There was no forensic evidence at all.

Hopefully, you will also be able to see why the judge deemed the line of questioning to be relevant to the case in question, and why he didn’t stop the barrister pursuing the line of questioning.

I am terribly sorry that the Dowler family were not prepared for trial by Victim Support. I am very sorry that they were not prepared for trial by the police, and I am very sorry they were not prepared for trial by the Crown Prosecutor, who, while not able to coach his witnesses will have been absolutely and completely aware of the line the defence was likely to take.

What I am not sorry for is the line of questioning they faced. That very line of questioning demonstrates that our justice system works. That a defendant will receive a robust, thorough and proper defence on the evidence available to his representative, no matter how distressing, or distasteful, or painful to the witnesses that may be, makes me proud of our justice system.

The press would have you believe that the Dowler family did not receive justice, because they were distressed the case presented by Bellfield. I say they absolutely received justice. That evidence was forthrightly and strenuously tested so that they can be sure who killed their child.

The press want the trial system changed. The Victims’ Commissioner wants to look at making changes, and the Director of Public Prosecutions has come out saying he wants to ensure that the same does not happen again.

We are running the risk of being governed by knee-jerk tabloid reaction. Imagine you were accused of a crime. Wouldn’t you want a proper defence, a thorough defence, a fearless defence? Or would you want a barrister who visits you in your cell and says ‘I’m sorry, I can’t ask that question. Someone might get upset’.

By all means, put reporting restrictions on trial. Put the press on trial; but don’t put justice on trial. Those details could have stayed inside that court room, where, it could be said, they belonged. But the very press who are calling for the barrister’s head on a platter and a noose around the justice system’s neck, are the very press who disseminated that information in all its gory detail for public consumption. There is such a thing as restraint. But restraint should never be forced on the team responsible for ensuring a proper, robust defence is run. Justice demands that.

Milly Dowler is dead, the third victim of a man who should never walk the streets again. Don’t let justice be his fourth victim.

(a huge ‘Thank You’ to @seeyouatthebar who filled in some of the criminal procedure points)

Pulling My Finger Out

My school report?
My latest work appraisal?
Michelle’s instructions to me?

Alternatively, it COULD be referring to my lack of postings on here in last month.

So, what has been happening? Well nothing exciting in my personal life compared to usual.

Last weekend, Michelle helped me celebrate a special anniversary. I can’t believe that so much time has passed. The celebrations were more muted than I had planned BUT I intend to make up for that in the (hopefully near) future.

I managed to motivate myself enough to cycle to work 4 days this week; on the other day I did not attend the office! I now have so much stuff @ Michelle’s house that I can cycle to work on a Friday & do not need to take a weekend bag with me! I wonder if Michelle realises I am moving in with her by stealth. I’ve already made friends with Charlie & Ruby (the dogs) & hopefully got them on my side! All I need now is to befriend the dick, Richard next door. He is one weird bloke & the neighbour from hell.

This weekend has the potential to be good, very good in fact. I’m typing this with a glass of wine in my hand as I am heading to Newcastle to see Michelle 🙂

Tomorrow Michelle, Josh & I are planning to go to York for the day. Michelle to go shopping with my mummy whilst Josh & I meet Tom & my dad @ York Racecourse for the annual Cycling Touring Club Rally. Basically its a change to hand over lots of money to bike shops for bits of kit.

Saturday night, Michelle, Tom and Josh are going to take me for my first ever visit to the temperance festival on the Town Moor in Newcastle. You may know it better as the Hoppings. People won’t believe that at my age I have never been before. It would have been good to have also gone to Newcastle Races tomorrow for the Pitman’s Derby, The Northumberland Plate but it clashes with York rally. Wonder if I’ll be allowed any candy floss @ the fair? I hope not as I hate it!

Then, sunday is the National Cycling Road Race @ Stamfordham which is just a few miles from Michelle’s house so we are intending to watch that. The field is a who’s who of British Cycling including:
Mark Cavendish
Bradley Wiggins
Gerraint Thomas
Peter Kennaugh
Ben Swift
Russell Downing

It is pleasing to see graduates of Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club riding including Andrew Griffiths & Joe Perrett. It is heartening to know that the club has been able to produce top class cyclists.

Sadly, on Monday I have to head back to work but I am going back on a slightly later & much faster train. It is only 2hrs 38 mins to London on it- faster than even I can drive it.

The good news from the last week is that I have finally settled my accident claim from November 2009. The cheque is in my possession, so I’m off to buy Mr Abramovich’s yacht off him & buy out the fat cockney @ Newcastle United. Ok, I’m more likely to buy a bottle of wine & a kebab with the size of the cheque. It is nice to be able to put the matter behind me though.

The bad news from the last week is the government’s proposals for basically abolishing the access to legal aid for many people & many categories of legal case.

Arrested & worried about what is happening to you as you know you are innocent but police think you are guilty, well worry whether you will be retrospectively billed for legal advice by the state after a retrospective means enquiry upon your release.

Case against you is rubbish & dropped / dismissed in magistrates’ court you can have limited costs reimbursed by state. However if case is dropped or dismissed in Crown Court & you get nothing in way of costs. This is irrespective of why it is dropped or why it went to the Crown Court.
Let me give an example. You are arrested for rape after girl you had consensual sex with makes allegation to hide fact from her boyfriend/spouse she was playing away. Rape is indictable only & must be sent to Crown Court & you are remanded in custody as its a serious allegation. You pay legal costs to solicitors to track down witnesses as you do not qualify for Legal Aid. Witnesses confirm girl is lying. She subsequently admits it to police & case is dropped. You are totally innocent but left potentially hundreds if not thousands of pounds out of pocket & face losing your home etc to pay to defend spurious allegation brought against you by the state. Is that justice?

I will no doubt revert to this topic again in due course in future posts.

Recognition at Last

Well this last week, I’ve had more communication from people than for a long time.

Where do I start? Well, I received communications in the form of cards in celebration of my 21st birthday! Did I say 21st, I meant to say XX birthday.

I met someone today who recognised my Police Unity Tour cycling kit. He was a fellow cyclist and had been in Washington DC on 12th May this year and seen us arrive at the NLEOM. He said the people he had been chatting to from the ride were great blokes. So, I’m assuming he never met me there.

Then I received an email from my boss congratulating me on my ride and the amount of money I had raised. As you will recall, I never spoke to him for more than 3 months after he took over last year, so it is something of note to get an email of this nature.

Then of course, the usual letters from people who think I should pay their bills. Don’t they know I have an aversion to paying bills. I wonder if I can claim it is against my human rights to expect me to pay bills? It seems everything else is against someone’s human rights these days.

This last weekend, I went to Newcastle and have to say it was the wettest weekend in a drought I have spent. The only time the sun shined was on Monday morning as Michelle drove me back to the station. Is the weather trying to tell me something? On Saturday, I did force Michelle to see my old school.

Durham_SchoolDurham_School_-_chapel

Even though I am biased, I have to say that it is a rather pretty looking school and occupies a fantastic location.

The death of Brian Haw was announced this weekend. Brian who? I hear you say. Most people may not recognise the name, but will recall him as the peace protestor who camped outside Parliament since 2001 in protest at the war in Iraq. I had the fortune me meet him on a number of occasions, usually when taking part in the Critical Mass bike ride. He was a strange bloke and could easily be regarded as an oddball. However, he was a man who had convictions and who prepared to live for those convictions. To live in a tent for 10 years in Parliament Square despite the weather and attempts by police and Westminster council to remove him shows some great determination. It is a shame that we do not have more people who are prepared to stand up for what they believe in. This country would be infinitely better if those MPs and Lords based opposite his protest location had even a fraction of the strength of conviction that Brian Haw had.

The death of Brian Haw was reported in this way in the British Media

BBC News

Daily Telegraph

The Guardian

WORK

You will note that I have mentioned my work much in recent posts. This is merely because there is nothing much exciting happening at work lately. A report I was working on jointly with HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) last year was finally published last week. The report was on the use of out of court disposals and was entitled Exercising Discretion: The Gateway to Justice. The fieldwork was done last summer but various reasons saw the publication delayed.

At present, I am doing some scoping work on a couple of potential inspections for the future which will also be joint work with HMIC. It is always interesting to work with other agencies and see how  their approach to criminal justice differs from our Inspectorate’s approach.

CYCLING

I have to report that my cycling is going far better than I realised. According to my GPS device, I rode 8265 miles home from work in around 1hour 26 minutes on Monday night and at an average speed in excess of 5000mph. So much for Gethin Butler cycling Lands End to John O’Groats in 44 hours. I did it nearly 10 times in less than 90 minutes.

How did I manage this? Well clearly my GPS suffered some form of abnormality. Somewhere around the Stratford area on my way home there must have been some electrical interference. I know the GPs recorded ok until I got near Stratford and it recorded fine the last 5 miles home from Stratford. Also, when I got home and tried to use my mobile phone, it was turned off and the battery had been completely drained. The phone had been fully charged before I set off on my ride home from work. I have no idea what caused these incidents. The weather was very wet, but the phone was in a dry waterproof bag and also there was no thunderstorm. Any ideas what happened?

Government To Introduce £104 Road Tax For Cyclists

Saw this online today. Incredible isn’t it?

What will they tax next?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

image for Government To Introduce £104 Road Tax For Cyclists
From April, 2012, It Will Cost £2 Per Week To Ride A Bicycle

A Whitehall mole today revealed that Transport Minister, Norman Baker, is to introduce a controversial new £104 annual road tax for cyclists.
Early reports indicate that the new charges will apply from April 1st 2012 and that there will be no exceptions or concessions made, irrespective of personal circumstances.

Children, pensioners, men and women of all ages will be liable for the new charges, and it will become compulsory to display a valid tax disc on all cycles, including tricycles of the type used by toddlers.

An insider explained that not all cycles will need to be taxed individually, meaning that households with multiple cycle ownership can attach the disc to any cycle in use, but all cycles in use must carry a valid tax disc, or the cyclist may face a fine of up to £5,000 and would risk their cycle being impounded and fed through a crusher in the absence of a valid tax disc.

A proponent of the scheme, speaking off the record, explained that the charge would average out at only £2 per week per cycle, less than the price of a pint of beer, and less than half the cost of a packet of cigarettes.

She went on to say that £2 per week represents real value for money for cyclists, who, during a period of great austerity would have unlimited access to the nation’s highways (with the exception of the motorway network) for a bargain basement price.
Cycling organisations are expected to vehemently oppose the proposed charges.
More as we get it.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

So, the answer to the question in the first line is obviously YES Open-mouthed smile

Police Unity Tour 7th May in New York City

The Saturday before the ride began we went into New York City for a bit of sightseeing. The below are a sample of the many many pictures taken that day.The memorial at Ground Zero is an incredible place. Very moving and difficult to imagine the horror of those twin towers collapsing in such a busy area.

 
Police & Fire Badges at St Paul's Chapel @ Ground Zero
Police & Fire Badges at St Paul’s Chapel @ Ground Zero
Police & Fire Badges at St Paul’s Chapel @ Ground Zero
Police & Fire Badges at St Paul’s Chapel @ Ground Zero – The Only Police Helmet in the Chapel !was this Northumbria Police one
The Others Wouldn’t Let Me Visit Here 😦
The (In) Famous Wall Street, but no Gordon Gekko here

 

Lets Have A Fitting Party

Perhaps one of the most famous things associated with the North East, and Tyneside in particular is the song “The Blaydon Races”.

People the world over have heard the song, whether it be a classic recording of it like the Owen Brannigan version

 

or that belted out by thousands of Newcastle United Fans at football matches.

A version of the song was used by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries in 1977 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Newcastle Brown Ale.

So, what has all this got to do with the title of this thread?  Well if you recall the opening line of the song

Aw went to Blaydon Races, ’twas on the ninth of Joon,
Eiteen hundred an’ sixty-two, on a summer’s efternoon;

This means that in less than 12 months time it will be the 150th Anniversary of  the Blaydon Races. This is an event that should be properly celebrated.

There is a petition at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/blaydonraces150 calling for a proper celebration of the event. Please take a few minutes and sign the petition.

There is a website dedicated to the 150th Anniversary at www.blaydonraces150.co.uk Take time to support the campaign. Especially when you realise the the 9th June 2012 will be a Saturday. It calls out for a party. A proper celebration of Tyneside heritage.

Run Forest Run

Well, its nearly 2 weeks since my last post, so I thought I’d put pen to paper (or is that finger to keypad?)

Well, what has happened since my last post?

Well Britain is officially suffering from a drought Britain Facing Drought.

Wales has had snowfall Snow on Mount Snowdon

England produce the most unlikely win in the cricket against Sri Lanka, a test match played in Wales. Yes England play home matches in Wales Test Match Special.

Still it was more than our grossly overpaid footballers managed against Switzerland at Wembley. Waste of Money

However, the real news has been the sacking of Cheryl Cole from the US version of the X Factor Hadaway & Sh*te Pet. Could I care less?

Me? What have I been up to?

Well I went back to work for the first time in 26 days. It was strange having to get up and get ready for work. The only good thing was the weather was excellent so cycling into work was no hardship.

So to make it hard I decided to get up early and go for a run before I cycled to work. I ran to the park at the end of my street and did a lap of the park. I ran a total of 1.36 miles at a very slow pace. In fact, I’m sure Eddie Kidd passed me! This run was significant for me as it is the first time I have tried running since my accident on 5th November 2009. I was unsure if I would be able to run at all.

I was very pleased with myself, but did suffer the next few days with stiffness in my thighs, but no problems from my knee.

Thursday and Friday brought no cycling owing to work & medical issues. Thursday I had to go to the doctor’s as I had a recurrence of cellulitis in my leg. This was caused as a result of a break in the skin in my leg whilst cutting the grass. After being hospitalised in 1998 by this, I am always pro active in seeking medical treatment whenever I get even a slight infection in my leg.

Friday, I had to travel up to our York office to deliver some Excel training, so had a very early start and had to be on a train at Kings Cross before 8am. The good thing was I was going to Newcastle to see Michelle for the weekend, so this got me nearer her. I managed to get to Newcastle before 4pm and was in the Boathouse pub at Wylam by about 4:10pm that afternoon having a refreshing pint whilst waiting for Michelle to collect me. SmileA great little pub this, with 12 real ales on tap – its well worth a visit.

Friday night brought a night out in Ponteland with a few drinks in an unusually quiet Diamond Pub and then a meal at our favourite restaurant Fratelli’s. Sorry Tom, you have missed out once again!

Saturday brought a day out at the seaside for Michelle and I. Sadly, the weather had turned from the gorgeous day on Friday. The forecast was for wind and showers, especially on the coast. So like idiots, or romantics, we headed off to the coast. We went up to Boulmer and had lunch at the Fishing Boat Inn which we have visited before. The first time Michelle took me there, we bumped into the local vicar from Wylam area. He obviously did not know that Michelle and I were a couple, but never missed a beat in chatting to us. I do wonder what he thought as he left the pub.

After lunch we went for a bracing walk towards Alnmouth from Boulmer along the beach. It was rather bracing, especially so when you both are wearing shorts and a light summer top. We probably only walked 3-4 miles, but it was enough in that weather.

Sunday brought a trip into the Discovery Museum in Newcastle primarily to look at the Newcastle United exhibition as it closes later this month. The museum is a fascinating look back at life on Tyneside over the years and is well worth a visit. The Newcastle United exhibition is as one would expect, rather popular on Tyneside. Sad to think that yesterday (11th June was the 42nd anniversary of Newcastle winning the European Inter Cities Fairs Cup – our last major trophy!)

We then went for a late Sunday lunch ( ok early evening meal) at the Blackbird Pub in Ponteland. Surprisingly it is hard to find somewhere serving Sunday dinner/ lunch at 4pm on a Sunday!

An early night is necessary on a Sunday as I was as usual, booked on the 0630 train to London from Newcastle. Sadly, I have to head back to London for work.

I managed to cycle to work Tuesday through Friday this week. Trying to find a quick route through the various road works is a task beyond me it seems. Whichever route I took, I got stuck in road works. However, it was good to be riding my fixed wheel bike again. It is rather comforting to have an old friend back.

I managed to get a couple of runs in before work, on Tuesday & Thursday, each slightly longer than the last one at 1.69 miles and 1.89 miles. However, Thursday was difficult as I appear to have tweaked a muscle in the back of my knee. This hurt when I got up on Thursday morning, and I think was caused by my lounging on the sofa on the Wednesday night.

This weekend, I was not seeing Michelle. It seemed very odd to be heading home alone to an empty house on Friday. Actually Friday was a strange day as it was lovely weather cycling in to work and home, but at lunchtime there was thunder and lightning!

Saturday was a chance for me to get to Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club for the first time in a couple of months. This is not very good when I am both Chairman and Child Welfare Officer. That was Saturday morning taken care of. The rest of the day was a day of leisure apart from a trip to the supermarket.

Sunday was/ is a rather wet and miserable day here in London. I motivated myself to get out running again and this time not only managed to hit the 2 mile target I had set, but increased it and did 3 miles today. The time was incredibly slow, but that doesn’t matter as I have not run 3 miles in one go for many years, possibly 20+ years. So I’m feeling quite proud of myself.

Watch out Forest I’m after running after you. I should stress this running is not at the expense of my cycling and I intend to keep cycling to work as well. There is a purpose to all this, and its partly because since we moved offices on 1st April, my commute to work is approximately 2 miles shorter now.

This next week is a significant week for me in a number of respects and I intend to enjoy the week, but keep up the running and cycling.

Till next time, please try not to worry too much about poor Cheryl Cole losing her job on the X Factor USA. I know its hard to concentrate on life with such tragedy befalling her, but try to cope.