Cycling makes me happy!

Today was college day, almost the end of the first year of my Counselling Diploma (man that has gone quick…), and it was really cool to cycle in.

The afternoon saw me plummet into a tailspin of tiredness and depression, and even though I had a good chat with an old friend that helped, cycling home really lifted my spirits and brought me back from the pits of despair.

I bloody love cycling!

elsa
Elsa – my trusty road bike

 

I have been reborn…

I’ve been working on my first lot of new music for a while over the last few weeks. I had got burnt out on making music for quite a while, but I have my mojo back BIG TIME!

I’ve loved heavy metal for a long time, I grew up with it, chose it as my own as a teen, and have been rocking out ever since… Rekindling my love for heavy sludge sounds last year with GURT and others led me to start working on some new Harmonica sounds of my own. RUKE (my heavy music alter ego) was back, loud and proud!

So, there’s a heavy ep of six tracks percolating away of the PC, which I had great fun blasting out in our front room on Sunday. There is a way to go to get these tracks right, but a solid foundation has been laid. And whilst driving around earlier this week, I had a eureka moment…

I was listening to an ace compilation of Brazilian metal acts from Terrorizer magazine, and I thought, blimey, isn’t heavy metal amazing? There is a big umbrella of metal with all kinds of crazy genres underneath it… what if I made eps and albums in all those genres and styles, but with HARMONICAS?!? Kapow! I had another crazy idea to fixate on (I tend to get a bit OCD over projects and ideas), and act on.

SET-UPThere we go, my musical obsession has another facet to it. Heavy Metal Harmonicas are GO!

Heres a teaser… https://soundcloud.com/ruke-622656462/stomper

BMX!

IMG_0019I blummin love BMX. Riding, bikes, culture, style, the whole shebang… I’ve been riding BMX on and off since I was 12 (There is that age again…), and cannot imagine not riding it in some form until I drop!

I started riding Flatland BMX (standing on your bike spinning around in circles and not falling off…) back in 2008, and you think I would be good at it by now, but the fun of mucking around on little bikes rather than worrying about new tricks and fads makes me happy and puts a smile on my face.

I had an ace time riding with my eldest grandson (he is a natural!) at the weekend, and getting a new sprocket (I snapped my old one in competition) for Christmas means I will back out there before you know it…

Grow old gracefully? On your bike! (Ha!)

Into the trees…

RollingI’ve been trying to cycle more over the last few months, partly to get fitter, but mostly because I love bikes and cycling of all forms. It’s also a great way to explore…

I have a regular route to a local town that I use for meetings which takes in country lanes with spectacular views of beautiful English countryside. One side of the road, rolling hills and fields, the other woodland. I love woodland, its my happy place, where I can escape from everything for a while and regroup.

BicycleThere’s one stretch of road I’ve been on lately, which has woodland stretching down a hillside that I’ve wanted to explore. So I stopped, turned my bike round, broke through the hedgerow and stepped into another world.

I put my bike down and looked around me. There were trees all around me, with the hillside rolling down from me, covered in a blanket of leaves, broken with clumps of bracken and brambles. My first thought was “Woah. It would be cool to ride down that…”, as there was a clear(ish) trail weaving down the hill. Another time, definitely…

EntranceThe hill is quite steep, so I stepped carefully, stopping to photograph the ancient trees as I descended. I also stopped to look back up the incline, admiring the view of the midwinter sun pouring back through the trees. At the base of the hill, there is a gate leading into farmers fields, so I can only assume that the woodland belongs to them…

UphillI wove my way back up the hill, aware of the time again, knowing I had an appointment to keep. But for a short while, I knew my mind had escaped the stresses and strains of everyday life. Picking my bike up at the summit, I knew I would return, hopefully to go blasting down a clearer hillside on my trusty steed.
Slope

 

Gone fishing… again!

It’s been really nice to have a day off today. Even with being self employed, sometimes you need to take a break. The last few weeks have been really busy, as we’ve had some big projects on,but both my wife and I are so happy with how our art and design business is growing.

I spent a little time tying a new (to me) rig ready for the mornings fishing, whilst keeping an eye on the weather (it’s really windy in the UK at the mo…). After bundling my simple fishing setup into my rucksack, grabbed a single rod, my net and folding stool and headed off for the canal.

I’m experimenting with equipment setups at the mo, seeing how little I can get away with for various activities. For example, I have found that I can go fishing with a rucksack, a single rod, small net and a folding stool. My lovely old rucksack carries a stove, fishing kit in sectioned box, bait, kettle, insulated cup, frying pan, food and most importantly, coffee bags. I have a folding water carrier, notebook and mechanical pencil, and thats about it. It sounds like quite a lot, but it’s quite minimal really.

I don’t want to get too bogged down in kit lists, as I think it’s more important to write about experiences than things, but I’m really enjoying the challenge of exploring without too much stuff getting in the way. Its more fun that way, you enjoy it more if you’re not worrying about having the right knife, cup, rope, whatever.

So, back to fishing. I’ve been reading a lot in Carpology lately about methods, techniques, tips, history and so on. There’s a really interesting article in last month’s issue about baiting up and waiting, sometimes for days. It really resonated with me. Today, I started putting it into action.

Arriving at the canal, I had to wait whilst a narrow boat moved up through the locks that were next to the swim I’m fishing in at the mo.  All good, it gave me time to have breakfast and get a brew on. Once the boat moved on, I baited up, had coffee, more breakfast and waited for almost an hour before I cast out. (It was as long as I can manage at the mo… I am building my patience up again. It’s kind of a zen thing with me and fishing.)

The fish are out there, I saw them this morning, and they were definitely knocking around the bait, as my bite alarm testified, but no bites today. Thats okay. I’m really enjoying being outdoors again, whatever the weather, and the challenge of catching a fish in a natural environment. It may take longer, but that’s what I’m enjoying. Learning about fish, their patterns of behaviour, diet, hooks, line, all that. You never stop learning in this world.

TeethRename

Claw Rig

 

Mini Pocket Dump! 6/11/2015

Pocket-Dump-12-11-2015
Mini Pocket Dump 12/11/2015

1.A6 notebook (always useful); 2.KEYS!; 3. Papermate propelling pencil (why hadnt I been using these before? No sharpeners, writes anywhere; 4. Ancient wallet; 5. Reusable carrier bag (helps save the planet, and you have to pay for carrier bags in the UK now…); 6. Business card holder, containing cards for our art and design business.

Goodbye Fizz…

Our beloved German Shepherd, Fizz died suddenly today… We don’t know why she died, as we thought she had a 24 bug yesterday and would be back to normal this morning. She was out of sorts and not interested in anything at all, even food! Fizz had seizures today whilst we took her to the PDSA, a high temperature and low glucose levels.

The vets and nurses tried to cool her down but she stopped breathing, then her heart stopped. I think Fizz actually died at 12:30pm. She is home now, and we will bury her in the garden and have a send off in the afternoon with family. It is really sad, but it was quick and she didn’t suffer.

We will really miss exploring our beautiful countryside with her. xxx

Happy trails Fizz...
Happy trails Fizz…

My plan kind of worked…

I had a really good idea last night, after deciding to ride to my business networking breakfast 10 miles away. I planned to ride back from networking via the back roads, surrounded by lovely countryside, stop and take photos when I saw something cool and enjoy the ride…

All was well, until I got two miles towards home when my back tyre went completely flat and I had to stop to fix it. No problem I thought, I’ve got all the kit with me, it should only take a minute or two… I found the puncture easily, pumped it up to check were the air was coming out, and whacked a Flypaper patch over it, waited a minute and pumped it up again… You know that moment when you realise you should have marked where the puncture was? Yup, I had stuck the patch in the wrong place, and it was my last one. Oh, and the battery on my phone went “BYE SUCKER!”

So did I walk the 8 miles home or the 2 miles back to Market Harborough where I could get my tyre fixed? I put the back wheel back on my bike and started walking…

Man, that was a LONG two miles. My feet still really hurt now, right in the heels? That is weird…

The folks in the bike shop, George Halls were so cool and really helpful. Not only did they replace the inner tube and check everything was okay, but they let me use their PC so I could email my wife (no phone, remember?) and let her know what had happened and that I was okay. (She does want to keep me safe…) Now that’s customer service.  It was also cool as both of the lads working in the shop are BMXers, so we chatted about bikes and riding whilst my bike was sorted.

I stopped off for a coffee and a muffin before riding home, really enjoying the ride and being back on bike after far too long. It was also great fun skipping back through some muddy fields close to home too… getting my cyclocross vibes in!

The day was still about exploring (physically and mentally), as the riding was great fun, and I made an extra special effort to be nice to folks, paying attention to kindness and consideration shown by others. Its not hard, and making others happy makes you feel happy too. Try it, its a lovely feeling.

Oh, and I made sure I bought 2 lots of Flypaper patches…

Back to home Back to Lubenham

Pocket Dump! November 2015

Completely nicking this idea from Thomas and Elise More Than Just Surviving, as I think it is a really good one. Onwards to exploring, learning and growing! This is what was the pockets of my cycling jacket today…

Pocket-Dump-2-11-2015

1.Eco batteries for front bicycle light; 2.Ancient wallet (gift from my wife); 3. Alcohol wipes liberated from KFC; 4. KEYS!; 5. Student ID for my L4 Counselling Diploma; 6.Random Scout woggle found in canal fields; 7.Business card holder, containing cards for our art and design business.

When I put something up that I really like, I will share links to manufacturers where possible. Get out there and explore!