The Sun Had its Hat On

Well, after a week of glorious weather, the weekend comes and the weather has turned colder and even snow in some places! How predictable is that?

Still, at least on Friday I was able to take advantage of the sun. I cycled for around 2 hours before work, taking the scenic route into work and clocking up just over 26 miles. After a swift exit from work, I rode across central London to Hyde Park where I was able to ride 4 laps around the park ( 3 full laps and one shorter lap) totalling 11 miles through the park.

I don’t know if you are aware of Hyde Park, but it is a beautiful oasis in the centre of London, covering 350 acres of land. In the centre of Hyde Park is the Serpentine which is a lake with boats available to hire. a sola powered ferry and even a swimming club. The park website says boats are  available for hire from Easter to 31st October, but they were already out on the lake on Friday. Perhaps Easter comes early in London?

The history of Hyde Park makes interesting reading, but its not for its history or even the Diana Memorial Fountain that I like it. I go because 3/4 of the 3 miles perimeter roads are virtually traffic free. A real oasis of calm in the middle of a bustling London, even at rush hour. The park is very popular with tourists and locals who like to sunbathe there. The sight of pretty young females sunbathing is of course of no interest to me as I cycle round the park.

Actually, it seems that the majority of users of the park seem to be of Arab or Middle Eastern descent. Quite why this is I do not know. It does create the odd image of some females in bikinis/ summer dresses whilst others are wearing the burka or more.

Can you blame people for flocking to parks for their pleasure. There are few better places to relax and have fun than in parks and or by the water, and when both are combined together- all the better.

This year as an added attraction, there are Boris bikes available to hire all round the park. This creates so many dangers to park users. Those hiring the bikes in the park seem unable to;

a) ride the bike in a straight line,

b) stick to the cycle paths (fixed penalty notices will be issued soon for this)

c) comprehend that we ride/ drive on the left side of the road

d) comprehend that others are around them and that sudden changes of direction without signalling or observation is likely to result in accidents

I do fear that before long there will be serious injury or even death caused to or by the actions of a tourist on one of these Boris bikes.

As a result of my cycling round Hyde Park, I managed a total of over 34 miles on the way home. This meant I had cycled over 60 miles in the day, which is not bad considering I also had to do a day’s work as well.

Riding home some 34 miles through several London boroughs and 2 cities, I passed numerous petrol stations and not one of them had any petrol for sale. This panic buying has got out of hand. As I have said before, there cannot be a strike for at least another 10 days by the tanker drivers, so why are people panic buying? Then we have stories like the stupid woman who suffered serious burns whilst trying to decant petrol in her home from a jerry can into a glass jug over a lit gas cooker! She’s a cert for a Darwin Award. Why decant petrol into a glass jug and why have this done inside a house and why over a gas cooker.

In the media coverage of this story was the following

The victim’s aunt  said: ‘This whole situation has been handled really badly by the Government and this tragic event could have been avoided. We are all absolutely devastated

Forgive me, but was it someone in the government who tried to decant the fuel over a lit cooker? Or did the government tell people to decant fuel into a glass jar over a lit gas cooker? Perhaps, just perhaps the victim was being rather stupid and she and she alone was the author of her own misfortune by:

a) being greedy and hording fuel

b) being stupid in trying to decant fuel from a jerry can (designed to hold fuel) into a glass jug ( erm would you believe it this is not designed for holding fuel?)

c) being exceptionally stupid to do this inside a house over or near a naked flame (gas cooker)

Am I alone in not having much sympathy for this stupid woman.

There is an offence of careless driving which is also known as driving without due consideration for other road users. I was wondering today if perhaps charging a few of the fuel hoarders with this offence would send out a message. I’m thinking of the people who fill numerous jerry cans or other containers which are often unsuitable for holding fuel. Draconian action perhaps, but it would make people think twice about their selfish actions.

For my part, I had a car with virtually no fuel in it this week. I am due to drive up to Newcastle this week to see Michelle and bring her, Josh and the dogs back to London for a week. Fortunately today I discovered that my local supermarket had no petrol, but it did have diesel so I have filled the car up. Every little helps eh?

Today brought another 20 miles on the bike. I cycled to and from Redbridge Cycle Centre for the LVYCC club session and rode with some of the riders on the road circuit in my role as child welfare officer. It is good to see so many children riding bikes and having fun. Especially pleasing was to see a girls group being coached by Alice. This is something that only happens infrequently and the girls all appeared to enjoy it.

The rest of the day I’ve had to spend trying to tidy up the house in preparation for Michelle’s forthcoming inspection of the house. Apparently I’ve got to dust and polish- whatever these things are? Any clues. Apparently tidying the house doesn’t just mean emptying the bins and throwing last month’s newspapers out?

Tomorrow, I will be tidying up more of the house and trying to make it look fit for Michelle to stay in. I should make it clear that I need to up my game and keep on top of housework in future.

What I really need is a housekeeper. Approximately 5 years ago I turned down the offer from someone to be my housekeeper. I thought they were joking. I wish I had believed the. That would have solved all my problems.

Regrets, I’ve had a few……..That was probably one of the worst misjudgements I’ve made

Enter video caption here

She’s a Bitch

Well, its time for another blog post. Why?  Well why not?

Lots has happened this week. The most important thing for me is that Michelle has started her phased return to work after months off with a back injury. I am so pleased for her. The timing has worked out nicely for her. Michelle is working 3 x 1/2 das this week, then will have the 2 week Easter holidays off work. Well she thinks she is having 2 weeks off, but Michelle and Josh are coming to London (fuel allowing). I have lots of important housework for Michelle to do. There’s cooking, cleaning, dusting, polishing and ironing ready for her. Please don’t tell her and spoil the surprise.

In any event she deserves it for her taunting about her sunbathing whilst I have been at work today.

The topic of the week in the media appears to be the VAT on pasties issue. We have David Cameron and David Milliband trying to out do each other about how much they like pasties. Cameron trying to recall when he had a pasty last – claiming to have had one a short time ago at Leeds Railway Station from the Pasty Shop there. Shame it has not been there for for at least 5 years. Then Milliband and and half of the shadow cabinet just decide spontaneously to have a pasty for lunch and quite by co incidence the press happen to be there at the same time to record this feast. Quite a co-incidence you may think.

Now, this whole fuel business is a bit pathetic. Tanker drivers have voted for industrial action which is their right. Before they can strike if that is what they choose to do, they have to give their employers seven days notice. No such notice has been given, and indeed there are planned talks with employers next week on Monday. So, if the talks fail, it is likely to be Tuesday of next week before notice can be given (at the earliest). This means the earliest strike action can happen if the Tuesday after that i.e. 12 days time. So can anyone explain why people are hoarding petrol now and queuing for hours to buy fuel. They will have used what they’ve bought before any strike action takes place.

Then we have government ministers advising us to store fuel at home in jerry cans! Is this really what we want,  our politicians urging us to panic buy and hoard? This advice is surely fanning the panic. however, not to worry further advice was later issued by the government advising people to top up their cars when they get down to half empty. I suspect most people usually wait till their cars are nearly empty before filling them up with fuel? That correction will have the effect of…encouraging more panic buying perhaps?

Me, I followed Francis Maude’s and bought myself a jerry can. However I am finding it very difficult to work out how to fill it with pasties.

Its been a great week weather wise. I’ve made the most of it, getting up early and getting in extra miles cycling the long way round to work. I live to the East of London and work in the centre. So, you’d think I ride in a Westerly direction to work? Well not initially, I set off and ride further away from London, riding in a meandering route to Romford, then head back via Beacontree Heath to Ilford and then onto London.

On Monday I did over 50 miles to and from work, the same on Wednesday. Tuesday and Thursday were much shorter rides at only 30 miles each. This has put me well on the way to my target of 1000 miles ridden between 19th March and my going to the USA on 7th May. Factor into this target there are at least 20 days when I will not be able to ride. This means doing 1000 miles in 30 days maximum. Doing 50 miles in a day on top of my full day’s work is a big ask. It means that I am effectively getting up early riding to work, and getting home from work, having my ta and going to bed

In 11 days, I have ridden for over 33 hours and covered over 430 miles. That is quite a chunk of time out of my life. It is over 3 hours a day, each and every day of the week.

As for the bitch – she visited me overnight on Wednesday night leaving me with a flat tyre as I was heading out of the door to work. Not to worry, I replaced the inner tube and was on my way to work. When I went to get my bike to ride home from work this evening, guess what? Yes, you’ve guessed it another flat tyre. So tonight I have spent the evening repairing p*nct*red inner tubes. Seven patches later and hopefully all the inner tubes are repaired and ready to be used.

Yes, the bitch is the p*nct*re fairy – one so evil that to mention her name summons her for a return visit.

I’ve got all the way through this post without mentioning the FA Cup games played this week. I’m not going to say a word about the Sunderland v Everton game. A picture is said to be worth 1000 words, this video is worth 1000 laughs at the SMB’s

Ground Hopping: Whitley Bay v Spennymoor Town Saturday March 3rd 2012

I know its a bit late writing this blog post, but….. Well there is no good excuse actually.

This was a game between the two biggest sides in the Northern League. Both sides still had things to play for.

Spennymoor need the points to boost their challenge for a 3rd successive league title. They are also still competing in the League Cup and the Durham Challenge Cup. Spennymoor have not applied for promotion though, so even if they win the league they will remain in it for next season.

Whitley Bay have won the FA Vase for the last 3 seasons and 4 times in the last 10 years. However a couple of weeks ago they were knocked out at home to West Auckland.  Whitley By have applied for promotion though. They need to finish in the top 2 in the league to have a chance of promotion. Before this game, it was only a very distant hope that Whitley Bay could get up to second place.

Why have one team applied for promotion and the other not? In the case of Spennymoor it is because financially they are not ready. This club have only existed for 5 years following the bankruptcy of Spennymoor United. Part of the problem was that a number of years ago the clubhouse burned down and was not insured. This meant the club lost its main source of income and a steady decline followed.  The ground also declined over this time. The new directors are putting the club on a sound financial footing before applying for promotion. A rare sensible attitude in modern football.

Whitley Bay after all their recent FA Vase success you would think were flush with money and easily able to afford promotion. They have played at the Northern Premier League level before ( this is next step up the promotion ladder). It ended in financial disaster for Whitley Bay and the club have spent many years now regrouping.

I attended the game expecting to find a rather neat and smart Hillheads ground. Parking in the free car park near the ground, Michelle, Josh & I approached the ground;


The first view of the ground did not impress. Decrepit fencing and the match board not even showing there was a game on. Hardly makes one think the club is well run.

£6 admission cost is one of the dearest in the Northern League, but is the same as Spennymoor charge and is very reasonable for a game of football. The obligatory programme was purchased and at £1 is a good read. Interestingly it has pen pictures of the HOME side rather than the visiting side.

Once inside the ground, the first thing we see is a trailer.


I’m not sure why Whitley Bay think they are on their way to Wembley. Somebody ought to point out to them that they lost to West Auckland.

Into the ground itself and there is a modern roof on the terrace down the halfway line. There is even a gantry for TV cameras on the top.


That is definitely the best feature of the ground. Both ends and one side of the ground are terraced. The terracing is rather unusual. It has only a few very deep steps. This is not conducive to seeing much if there is a large crowd in attendance. Also, the terracing is made of flagstones, not concrete. This means that numerous flagstones are uneven or loose and dare I suggest it dangerous. Shame that money from the cup run was not invested on the terracing.



In addition to the issues with the terracing, the fence around the pitch has definitely seen better days.


The far end of the ground has obviously seen better days. I’m not sure how one describes the end best. There are only 2 deep steps of terracing then  a pile of stones and earth held back by planks of wood. If there were to be disorder, then this would provide a ready made source of ammunition. I’m not quite sure what has happened to cause this strange feature.


You will also notice the advertising hoardings on the pile of stones. Not exactly what advertisers are paying for. Its not conducive to encouraging people to invest in advertising at the club.

Continuing my look round the ground. there is yet another trailer advertising Whitley Bay going to Wembley. Shame it is ona burger stall that is not open. They’d have been better opening the stall and taking down the out of date signage.

Finally, lets look at the main stand. You’d expect this at least to be as impressive as Whitley Bay’s recent success. Given the state of the rest of the ground, it is not unreasonable to think that the profits from those fantastic cup achievements has been invested in the ground.


The state of the roof on the main stand is more reminiscent of a club in decline rather than one riding high on a record run of success in the FA Vase. So, the question remains as to where all the money from the FA Vase success has gone. Especially when you also consider that Whitley Bay have by far the highest crowds in the Northern League.

Now unlike other clubs in the Northern League, the directors at Whitley Bay pay themselves for their involvement with the club. Elsewhere the directors or committee men work for no fee and indeed often dip into their own pockets to run the club. Now I’m not saying the directors are bleeding this club dry and taking money that should be invested back into the facilities. You may think that though. I couldn’t possibly comment!

The game itself was nothing like the feisty affair at Spennymoor earlier in the season when 2 players were sent off and more could have followed. This time, it had an end of season feel about it. Whitley Bay seemed to play like a side that had nothing much to play for other than pride. In reality, they probably do have little left to play for as finishing second would be highly improbable. The game ended 1-0 to Spennymoor and continued their campaign for a 3rd title in a row.

The highlight of the afternoon was the chanting from some of the Spennymoor fans about Whitley Bay and their loss of the FA Vase. Football fans can be cruel.


The Spennymoor Choir

One oddity about watching football at this level is the informality. Go to a football or premier league game and you will be searched, and have plastic drink bottles taken off you before being allowed into the ground. In the Northern League, they allow you to bring kid’s scooters into other ground with you.


In The Summertime

Yes folks, summer officially started at 1am this morning. The clocks went forward as I hope you all remembered. Come on, who is going to admit forgetting  the clocks had gone forward?

We have the obligatory drought orders coming into force on 5th April for large parts of South East England and elsewhere. No using hosepipes to wash cars, water the lawns etc. For some strange reason, the area of London/Essex I am in manages to avoid the hosepipe ban despite people all round only a couple of miles or less away having the ban. So, for those in the hosepipe ban areas, I will post pictures of me hosing down the patio, watering the lawn and washing the car etc. Winking smile. I jest of course, but it does raise the question as to why an island that gets plenty of rainfall is facing drought induced water restrictions? The Canary Islands and Cyprus to name just a couple of places manage with less rainfall and hotter temperatures than in the UK.

Anglian Water
Hosepipe Ban from 5th April 2012

Cambridge Water Co
Officially ‘Drought Area’

Cholderton & Dist.
Published draft Drought Plan

Essex & Suffolk Water
No Drought order

Officially ‘Drought Area’

Portsmouth Water
Officially ‘Drought Area’

Severn Trent Water
Published Drought Plan

Southern Water
Hosepipe Ban from 5th April 2012

South East Water
Hosepipe Ban from 5th April 2012

Sutton & East Surrey
Hosepipe Ban from 5th April 2012

Thames Water
Hosepipe Ban from 5th April 2012

United Utilities Water
Published Drought Plan

Veolia Water Central
Hosepipe Ban from 5th April 2012

Veolia Water East
Hosepipe Ban from 5th April 2012

Wessex Water
Officially ‘Drought Area’

The reason for this is because those places have had the foresight to build desalination plants to use that abundant water supply from the sea. In Britain, we have ignored this potential problem for so long and only have one such plant, newly opened in Beckton, East London. Why have we not built more or at least started to plan for building more. We have had enough warnings about global warming for some time and should have taken steps to prepare for this problem. Wonder what our politicians have to say about this.

This weekend being the start of summertime also saw me wearing shorts and short sleeved top when cycling on both Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday, I did 20 miles at Redbridge Cycle Centre (aka Hog Hill) during the Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club morning session. I could have ridden more, but its always nice to have a natter as well. I’ve not been to the club very often this year as I’ve often been up in Newcastle seeing Michelle.

Today (Sunday), I went for a 30 miles ride out into the Essex lanes. Its the first time I’ve ridden this route in a long time. Its one Tom and I used to ride when he used to come down for the weekend. I was a little bit worried as I have not done the ride for a long time and have put weight on since then. However, I managed to complete the ride with no problems, and indeed did it without a stop.

Being able to ride this weekend did however have a big downside as it meant I was in London and not seeing Michelle. Sadly, owing to work issues, I was not able to book train tickets early enough to get cheap fares to go up to Newcastle. What is even worse is that it was Michelle’s birthday last week and I’ve not seen her. Circumstances have conspired against us, but it does not stop me feeling bad for not being there for her. Sorry Michelle. Crying face

In addition to my 50 miles over the weekend, I have managed to do another 210 miles cycling to and from work over the last week. The beautiful mornings have inspired me to get up early and roughly double my commute. The 210 miles on Mon – Fri is better when you take into account that on Wednesday & Thursday I got the train home  (taking my bike on the train) as I had gone out after work for drinks and meals both nights.

I’ve now done 1300 miles in 12 weeks, so am above the target I set at the start of the year of 100 miles per week. I have a number of days next  month when I won’t be able to cycle, so I can’t ease up if I want to hit my target.




This is displayed at Newcastle Central Station. Not sure what the point is of approaching platform staff to check  if the train that has left was the one you wanted to get. Call me stupid, but it is probably better to ask BEFORE the train has left.



In Wallsend, they are advertising a Nearly New Baby Sale. Anyone want to buy a 2nd hand baby? It seems the sale of children is not limited to babies.


St James (formerly known at Sports Direct.Com) at their Team Valley Store in Gateshead appear to be selling Juniors at the bargain price of 2 for £14.


Ladies here is a carpet fitter for you. Get laid professionally and it comes with a guarantee!



Finally, Tesco at Kings Cross appears to have a new line – frozen crisps. Have any of you tried them yet?

Happy Birthday from Afar

Its a good news bad news post today.

Good News:


Open-mouthed smile

Bad News:

I’m having to say it via text / phone calls and blog posts Crying face

Sadly, owing to issues at work, I have not been able to take time off and travel up to be with Michelle today. Unfortunately, I am involved in a major inspection and it is very time pressured such that I have not been able to take time off work. Sorry Michelle, on Valentine’s Day I was able to surprise you pleasantly but this birthday I was not able to repeat that.



Its been good news bad news in other respects. Good that I’ve been able to cycle to work everyday so far this week. Bad news that I had commitments last night and tonight so that I took bike home on the train rather than cycle home. Still, to date I have done 156 miles between Monday morning and now.

Good news, that this sad individual had two nights out. Bad news- they were the only two nights out I’ve had in months and they are consecutive nights.

Good news tonight I met up with my mother, sister and brother who are staying in London for a couple of days. It was good to meet up with them. I’ve not seen them for a little while now. Bad news was that it was only a short meeting- long enough to have a meal and a drink. Still it was good to see them.

Good news – I’m going to have some time to myself this weekend and intend to go cycling and to see the O’s play. Bad news – this means that I’m not seeing Michelle this weekend.

One Under / One Down

It’s been a while since I last blogged and there are several reasons for that – not least because I’ve been lazy.

As you’d expect, lots has happened in that time. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I do want to make reference to a couple of incidents which have highlighted for me a lot about some people and their moral compass(es)

One Under

Firstly, on Sunday  11th March, I was on a late evening train heading back from a great weekend with Michelle  in the Tyne Valley. Picture the scene, the train is busy, everyone heading home from weekends away etc. The 10 or so Millwall fans were enjoying yet more beers and all was well with the world. We had just left our last stop before London which was Peterborough and had reached full speed again,  when it happened.

There were a couple of bangs, the train started to rock as though it had de-railed and the train started to screech to a halt. My initial though was “WTF” and I thought the train had indeed hit something and derailed. I braced myself incase the carriage(s) overturned.

Fortunately the train came safely to a halt. We were somewhere north of Huntingdon.

Announcement 1 -The train guard [TG] announced that the train had hit something and the driver was going to have to inspect the scene to find out what we had hit before a decision could be made about continuing the journey.

A few minutes later, came

Announcement 2 –TG said the driver had discovered a body on the track and that we would have to wait the arrival of the emergency services before the train could be moved.

45 minutes after this came

Announcement 3 – TG apologising for delay saying we were still awaiting emergency services arriving.

A little later came announcement:

Announcement 4 – TG advising we would be moving shortly and he would give us an estimated ETA very shortly.

There came subsequent announcement re ETA and also re getting to destinations, taxis for those who had missed last connections etc and details of compensation claims.

You would have thought this would have satisfied the passengers. What more could East coast do?

Well according to certain people:

1. The train took far to long to stop

2. There was no need to tell people the train had hit a body

3. Why could we not get off the train and walk

4. It was selfish of the suicidal person to jump in front of a train. Why did they not do something more sensible and less selfish like take an overdose at home?

5. The deceased was selfish as  the delay to the train meant they wont get to see their friend before he goes on his holiday (skiing). They should have thought about “victims” like us who suffer because of their selfish actions

Well let’s look at these comments

1. The train took far to long to stop – this was a several hundred tons of locomotive travelling at well over 100mph. I don’t think the stopping distance is the same as a ford fiesta travelling at 30mph.

2. There was no need to tell people the train had hit a body – so what would they prefer? The guard to  say nothing at all or to say “We are stopped but I’m not going to tell you why”?

3. Why could we not get off the train and walk – we’ll ignore the fact that there are no roads / places to walk. Where do they want to go to? Then there is the fact there would be a drop of around 4feet to the ground and then uneven stones and sleepers/ rails to navigate? Then what do people do when they get off the train?

4. It was selfish of the suicide person to jump in front of a train. Why did they not do something more sensible and less selfish like take an overdose at home? – I’m not sure that a person in the act of committing suicide is either thinking rationally or thinking of the impact on others. Those who are suicidal are usually not thinking of others. The balance of their mind is disturbed.

5. The deceased was selfish as the delay to the train meant they wont get to see their friend before he goes on his holiday (skiing). They should have thought about “victims” like us who suffer because of their selfish actions – no thought for the victim who was in such a depressed state that suicide seemed the only option, nor any thought for the family or friends of the deceased who will never see their loved one again, not when they come back from their holiday.

You are probably thinking that it’s drunken football fans like that group of Millwall supporters making such insensitive and stupid comments aren’t you? Well, it wasn’t, it was 2 females in their late 20’s sat opposite me. Both were, from earlier conversations they were having, University Graduates and ex public schoolgirls. Proof that education doesn’t prevent gross stupidity and insensitivity. Thinking only of themselves seems to be a sad modern trend and not something that makes us better as a society.

The Millwall fans were the model of respectable behaviour, even sharing their food and drink with the rest of the carriage.

One Down

The one down being Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba who collapsed during their FA Cup tie at Tottenham on Saturday. Shockingly in a game being televised live to an audience of millions across the world, he suffered a cardiac arrest. The game was abandoned and medical staff fought for a long time to save his life on the pitch before he was stabilised enough to be taken to hospital where fortunately he appears to be recovering and is now able to talk to visitors.

The medical teams apparently had to work on him for two hours before his heart restarted. It is incredible that he survived and the medical teams cannot be praised highly enough.

The behaviour of the fans at the game has been praised. Despite having previously played for Spurs’ bitter rivals Arsenal, both the Spurs and Bolton fans united to show support for Muamba. As in the earlier incident on the train, the football fans behaved in a way the media would have you believe is rare.

Now, lets turn to the Media itself. The game was being broadcast live on ESPN. When it was abandoned, did ESPN turn to other sporting events? Of Now, you may ask what medical qualifications or knowledge someone such as ex England winger Chris Waddle has. I can confirm his medical knowledge is as good as his dancing skills were on Top of the Pops.

Enter video caption here

It seems the aim of the broadcaster is to fill the programme with ignorant speculation.

Today, Sky Sports News broadcast live  reports every 15 minutes from outside the hospital Muamba is in. Quite what live outside broadcasts add. There was no news other than a hospital statement. Once again media overkill.

Lets then turn to the printed media. Several newspapers printed intrusive photographs showing, Muamba lying prostrate on the pitch with medical staff trying to save his life. Do we really need such intrusive pictures to illustrate the story? I’m sure readers can picture the scene without close up pictures of a technically dead man being tended to by medical staff? One would have hoped that the media show some restraint in what they show.

This is especially so when the very same media are so quick to put down other people – eg all football fans are portrayed as yobs etc.

Fortunately, at the time of typing this, it appears that the story has a happy ending. Muamba is said to be sitting up in hospital and is able to talk to visitors in English & French. Is it too much to hope for that the media in all formats allows Muamba and his family time to recover away from the intrusive and prying eyes of cameras and journalists.

Right of Reply

In my blog post SICK PRIORITIES – I made reference to the compensation Charlotte Church received (alleged to be upto £600,000) and compared it to compensation given to victims of accidents or soldiers injured in battle.

Natasha commented:

I agree that’s an obscene amount of money Charlotte Church was awarded and she’ll probably donate it to charity

I have no idea what Charlotte Church will do with the money, and I do not criticise her for accepting such a sum. There is no reason why she should give money aware. There is no obligation, in my view upon her to do so.

My post was criticising the legal syatem. These cases ( accident and phone hacking) were civil cases and the award of compensation was not meant to punish the defendant, but to compensate the claimant. Although Charlotte Church’s case was settled outside court, it would have been at a level near that which the courts would have awarded. It is the court’s approach to compensation that I feel is sick in awarding 10-100 times ore compensation for having someone listen to your phonecalls than for lifelong injury



In my blog post  How to Win friends & Influence People I posted about cyclists who manage to upset others and turn people’s opinion against cyclists in general.

ANONYMOUS commented:

Any campaign is a good campaign that encourages the UK roads to be a better place to cycle

I agree entirely with this. My post was explaining why campaigns waging war on other road users will not make the UK roads a better place to cycle

February 29th!!!!!


I’ve been asked by so many people today if anything happened yesterday

So we were out for a drink in my local when my girlfriend went down on one knee in front of me.

It was the best kidney punch I’ve ever thrown

I am of course not telling the truth. As some of you know, if I tried that to Michelle, I’d come off the worst.

Nothing so exiting for me yesterday. I spent the day at work sitting through a series of meetings, including one 3.5 hour meeting.  No opportunity for romance when talking about fraud bribery and corruption. I suppose I could have tried bribing Michelle to fraudulently pretend she wanted to marry me. But that would be corrupt.

The meetings formed part of the planning of a major piece of work we have coming up. It is actually quite exciting as the report on this piece of work will definitely hit the headlines in the national media. It is a very political job and one with lots of very nervous people fearing what the report may say. Sadly, at present I cannot reveal any details about the work.

Relief of a form came yesterday, no not because I avoided a marriage proposal [ Michelle, you know what the answer would be if you had asked], but because I received my new passport from the Passport Office. Why relief? Well I am off to the USA in May for the Police Unity Tour (PUT). My old passport expired last December. I disposed of the old expired passport without realising it had to be sent to Passport Office with my application for a new passport.

I therefore had to fill in a lost passport form as well as my new passport application. These were posted off on 21st February,  some 10-11 weeks before I am due to leave for the USA. I was worried I may have to make a personal application for an expedited passport. Yet on 28th February, the passport office issued a new passport and I received this yesterday. I immediately applied for and obtained my ESTA clearance to get into the USA.

This was a relief to have this all sorted. I also received a couple of emails from fellow riders from the USA about the Police Unity Tour. All seemed to be heading smoothly in preparation for the PUT. However, this morning I woke up to the sad news about the suicide of PC Rathband in Blyth. A sad reminder that it is not just in the USA that officers put their lives on the line serving their communities.

This weekend sees the biggest football match of the season in the North East, and I’m pleased to be able to say that I will be there. The tensions are rising. Internet message boards are full of taunts and bragging about the game. Come kick off time, its 90 minutes of battling to see who gets the bragging rights for the rest of the season. Here’s hoping Spennymoor Town can win at Whitley Bay in the top game

of the season. Oh and then on Sunday I’m off to watch the Newcastle v S*nderland derby at St James’ Park.

What is even better this weekend is that I get to see Michelle.