Friday, 31 December 2010

Review of 2010: a year of firsts

  • My brother got married to the lovely Nichola
    • I hope that this is a first & only time he gets married :)
    • I gave a reading at the wedding too, and was proud to do it
  • Rode a bike for a 33mile ride
    • & raised over £450 for RNLI at the same time
  • Baked a cake in the shape of a Newcastle-city pub for a regional Food event (Eat 2010)
    • & received a runner up prize (voted by my fellow-cake bakers)
    • & gave the cake to a local housing-association
  • Joined a 5week drama class in Jan
    • & made 5 new friends, continuing to meet each week since the class ended
  • Made a strawberry gateau
    • & realising how easy it was, made 3 more in the summer
  • Helped to build a community on a facebook page for Brompton Carnival & Sports Committee
    • And reporting on it's events, including photos
    • Attracting over 150 people to the group
  • Create, build and star in my own Carnival Float for Brompton Carnival & Sports May Day Fancy Dress Parade Day (with my niece & nephew)
    • & making an outfit to look like a snowman (in the middle of May)
    • & winning 2nd Prize!
  • My very good friend Claire got engaged to Tee
    • she's been through some tough stuff, and I'm so pleased that she found Tee, I hope they have a long and happy life together
  • I went on a weight-loss drug trial at Newcastle University for Naturex
    • Took a 'pill' (could be drug, could be placebo) stuck to a normal diet (no calorie counting or weighing foods), I lost 10lb in about 10weeks.
  • I made a skirt!
    • Under the careful supervision of my mum, but I made a skirt
    • And it's one that I will wear, not one that I think, nah, that's rubbish I won't bother.
  • I had my feet nibbled by little tiny fish
    • I got it for my mate Kath as a birthday present & we had our feet nibbled together.
    • It felt strange at first (almost like the start of pins & needles), then just tingly like jets of bubbles between your feet. Feet felt very soft afterwards - really unique experience.

Gardening Review
This year's allotment has seen a bumper strawberry harvest, not only had I enough strawberries to make about 20 jars of jam, but I made cheesecakes, sundaes, gateaux, cakes, and gave away a good few punnets of fresh strawberries.  I was also secretly pleased to have outdone my dad's strawberries this year.  My dad has been my allotment mentor, we compare notes on everything we grow, his often outdo mine.  But this year, my strawberries have outdone his tenfold.  And it's me giving him spare strawberry plants so he can grow like mine in 2011.

My potatoes did well, and I'm still eating them - they're in sacks in the garage.
My garlic failed again.
Tomatoes were excellent - another great harvest of greek-tomatoes!
We made elderflower cordial that tasted sublime, it was too nice to give away to anyone!

Home
The kitchen was done in 2009, a year old, and still looking clean, tidy and wonderful (especially the pantry).  We got new window fitted in the front of the house, which has improved the look, feel, sound, and warmth of the house. 
Towards the backend of the year we began the dining room, wallpaper off (every possible surface), walls skimmed, painted, floor laid, furniture purchased and fitted units (quote pending).  The dining room will look fabulous when it's done, fit to entertain. 
And we can start spending our Wedding Gifts: money to buy furniture and vouchers for John Lewis (crockery and cutlery)!

CD Purchases
  • Chemical Brothers, Further - superb, started as a slow-burner, has some super bouncy, feel good tracks
  • Scissor Sisters, Night Work - slow, not as good as the last 2, and to be perfectly honest, I can't remember any of the tracks of this.
  • Goldfrapp, Head First - a real 80s feel-good CD with some sing-along to get you in the mood, "o-o-o I've got a rocket, o-o-o you're going on it, o-o-o you're never coming back!"
  • Goldfrapp, Felt Mountian - their first CD, which means I've got the full collection, I mainly bought it for the tracks 'Utopia' and 'Lovely Head' which they played at their gig in Newcastle in November
  • Ministry of Sound, Electronic 80s (1 & 2), when you just feel like a bit of electric synth classics, wang it on, like back and reminice.
Other than that, not a lot of great music released in 2010, the support band for Goldfrapp, RetroGrade, were excellent, but their album isn't due for released until 2011.

Gigs/Theatre
  • The Girl in the Yellow Dress, Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne went to see this with friends, a strange tale of an obsession that goes a bit out of control.  I came away feeling confused, I feel that I want to like a character when I see a play/film, and didn't like either of the characters in this.
  • Goldfrapp, Carling Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne went to see this with Carl in November. The music was superb, Alison Goldfrapp's sound is out of this world, her voice takes you somewhere else and her eyes are of that ice blue-grey that look almost doll-like, but you can't help looking at them.  She did 3 outfit changes too. She played a range of songs from all of her albums, hence the reason why I had to buy the first album - to hear the song "Lovely Head" again.  It starts out like a James Bond theme tune and turns into a haunting mermaids scream, that sounds wonderful yet painful at the same time.
Fashion
I didn't start it, it followed me. I've been wearing my short lace-up boots since 2009, when I bought them from a shop at Teesside Park for £45.  Carl never liked the brogue pattern on them, he said I looked liked a Victorian street urchin.

I loved them, they went perfectly with the trousers I wore for work, making my feet look a normal size for once. I even had them resoled when they wore out, I couldn't bear to bin them (yet).  In October the time came to say goodbye, the leather was coming away from the sole, a reheel and resole job wouldn't do, and I've be spend more than they were worth, so I bought some new ones and binned the old ones.  However, by this time, the fashion trend was 'short flat boots with laces (and/or buckles) and so I was searching for them in the 'trending' season, double the price and all the same.  I did buy some, but they're not the same as the old ones.

Old skool satchel.  I've wanted one for years, one of those brown ones with the long strap, so I buy one from Ebay.  And THEN, some Alexa Chung starts wandering around with one, and I was worried that everyone would have one.  Fortunately, everyone doesn't. Fashion-victim look averted!

Places I've Visited

  • Naples with my friend Kate




  • Barx, Vallencia and a load of other lovely places in Spain with Carl




  • Hexham & Corbridge (sounds silly, because they're so close, but true)




  • Cragside at Rothbury




  • Novels I've read
    I've read more books this year, than I have in a long while.  I can't say that they're 'quality' novels, just something to read & escape to on the way to work.  It's also down to the fact that my Tuesday night catch-ups seem to include book-swapping too!
    • Once Day, David Nicholls
    • Home Truths, Freya North
    • Misadventures, Sylvia Smith
    • Ralph's Party, Lisa Jewell
    • After the party, Lisa Jewell
    • The Great lover, Jill Dawson
    • Thanks for the memories, Cecilia Ahern
    Sickness & Health
    I didn't get the dreaded cold this winter, I got a version of it which included a sore throat and cough, but no feverish symptoms.  No days off work due to sickness either (since about 2005). 

    I did go to the doctors, who told me that I wouldn't win a competition for the prettiest feet, and suggested to stop my balls from burning whenever I wore the slightest heeled shoe, I should wear an insole, which cost about £20 a pair.  So I do. 

    I also went to the doctors about a little lump on my thumb joint and was told, it's quite common, in the old days folk were told that the cure was to hit them with a bible.

    I had to have dental treatment this year too, I've done blog posts about them, including photos.

    Looking to 2011...
    It seems that there are lots of things planned for 2011 so far, I won't attempt to make any predictions because I'm not Mystic Meg, and I only usually forsee things a short time before they happen.

    But these things are for sure:
    1. A baby...Laura & Roger (due in January),
    2. A new job...Carl is going to do Yacht Club Sailing Secretary duties,
    3. A foreign visitor...Gemma is coming over in the summer with Henry
    
    Google Homepage 31st Dec 2010
    

    Monday, 29 November 2010

    For a girl who has big feet, I do alright for shoes

    I buy my shoes from a variety of places, and each time the size varies (a bit like clothes shops).

    I would like to get rid of some of my shoes, but what happens is,  I find a nice pair of shoes in my size* get excited that they actually fit me, and feel that I must buy them, because chances are - they'll never make them like that in my size again.

    But in reality, I have about 4 pairs of footwear that I wear regularly, and the rest are just doing nothing.  I would like to bring together a list of shoes with specific jobs, so that I can stop buying shoes willy-nilly, and the shoes I do buy, get worn.
    *For the benefit of anyone who doesn't know, my feet are a size 9 (ish), I'll squeeze my feet into smaller sizes, but I'm only kidding myself.

    My tooth

    I was due a new filling in May 2010, I missed the appointment and made a new appointment mid-June, the earliest date they could give me was October!!  I wasn't too upset, the filling wasn't hurting, it was still intact and I could happily wait until then.
    Then in July - disaster struck!
    The filling broke, and a big gaping hole appeared.

    It didn't hurt, it was just uncomfortable.  It was also awkward, every time I ate something I'd have to have a rummage around with a toothpick afterwards, getting all of the food out of the hole. I rang the dentist and explained what had happened, they said that they didn't have any earlier appointments, and that they'd only consider me 'an emergency' when I was experiencing pain or swelling.  I had considered asking someone to punch me in the face, but thought better of it.  I was told that I could call them each morning to see if there were any cancellations.  I decided that this was my best option.
    By September, the hole was still there, and I hand't managed to get a cancelled appointment.  I was due to go on holiday to Spain in a few weeks time, and decided that I actually wanted them to do something temporary until I got back.

    So when I rang up to do my usual 'have you had any cancellations today?' I asked if I could have something temporary, and they told me that I won't be able to get a cancellation appointment because my dentist was on holiday for 3 weeks, and that I wasn't allowed to be treated by another dentist, why? Because my dentist had 'already begun treatment' - I told them that no treatment had been carried out - that's what I was waiting for!!  Reluctantly they gave me an appointment for a temporary fix with some other dentist.  He filled it with cement and didn't charge me a penny :)
    I came back from my holiday - temporary filling in tact.  And had my replacement filling appointment, as originally booked, October. The filling is fixed and looks grand.

    The moral of this story is - when you get an appointment at the NHS Dentist for a filling - don't cancel it!

    Last night I dreamt about ice cream

    I was somewhere between Longbenton and Four Lane Ends, and there was a funfair on the go, I had a wrist band so I could have unlimited goes on the rides, and this also included ice creams.  I asked for coffee ice cream and the man said that the only one he had, had peas in it.  So I accepted, coffe & pea ice cream.  Claire Briggs asked for the bacon and eggs flavour ice cream - which is just wrong.

    I also briefly dreamt that the car would need a new exhaust.

    The car was due a service and MOT today, and it needed a new exhaust-part (not a full exhaust).

    Chocolate chunk cookies

    I took this recipe from a free booklet in The Guardian 2007, the original recipe listed double-quantities, but I've reduced it as I can only manage to bake 12-13 of these at a time with my baking trays.



  • 112g unsalted butter


  • 190g light soft brown sugar


  • 25g caster sugar


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 egg


  • 175g plain flour


  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


  • 25g cocoa powder


  • 150g broken chocolate pieces




  • Oven temperature 170°C (150°C for fan-assisted)





    1. Beat together butter, brown sugar, caster sugar & vanilla extract until light and fluffy (save time and whack it in a food processor).


    2. Add the egg.


    3. Sift the flour, bicarb and cocoa powder together and add to food processor (or bowl, if you're feeling strong fore-armed).


    4. Stir through your chocolate chunks.


    5. Prepare a baking tray (cover in greaseproof paper, or grease it)


    6. Scoop ice-cream scoop sized blobs onto the tray, spaced evenly apart.


    7. Cook for 12-14mins until puffed up and coloured at the edges.


    8. Remove, cool & eat!




    9. Thursday, 25 November 2010

      2-4-6-8

      Two four six eight
      Who do we appreciate?
      B-r-o-m-p-ton


      Two four six and a quarter
      Who are we about to slaughter?
      Broom-field

      We would sing this at primary school when we played netball, football, or rounders against the other schools

      Monday, 8 November 2010

      Halloween Costume 2010

      For me the fun of fancy dress is making the costume.
      
      Halloween Costume 2010 (Lisa Vincent)
      
      Making it from second-hand, hand-made, recycled, reused stuff.
      
      I know if I make my own costume it'll be unique, no one else will have one, and I'll stand out from the crowd, which I like to do in fancy dress.

      
      I use google-searches for ideas in my head, this year it was 'headless zombie' I pulled out a few images and decided to replicate what I'd seen. I'm the kind of person that looks at things and says I can make that and I often manage to!

      As Charles Caleb Colton said in 1820, Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (btw -I had to google for that reference).

      So the headless zombie grew out of a vintage charity shop dress for £7.50, a papier-maché neck and shoulders (plain flour & water paste with newspaper strips), and a foil buffet platter.

      The results worked a treat, I still laugh at how well it turned out!

      Tuesday, 5 October 2010

      Spanish lesson

      I've been on holiday to Spain recently, and whilst I was there, I kept forgetting the word for 'lamb' because it's one of the things I looked for in restaurants.  So I found a way to remember...

      PLUS













      EQUALS
      CORDERO

      One Day, David Nicholls




      It's written in yearly chapters which follow the lives of two friends, Emma & Dexter, after they graduate from Edinburgh University.

      Each yearly chapter documents their lives on 15th July, leaving the reader to piece together the rest of the year in-between - a clever device


      I really connected with the characters, wanting to know how things panned out for them, even though I thought Dexter was a bit of a cock.  Once I'd started I couldn't put it down, with the usual twists and turns that relationships (and life) has, plenty of laugh out loud moments, funny observations and sad bits too (I was blubbering on the metro journey home).

      Loved it.

      Monday, 20 September 2010

      How many people make a crowd?

      There was something to suggest that 4 people made a protest, but that's not necessarily a crowd.

      And how many does it take to make a riot?

      Or is a riot just a 'crowd with intent' I was going to say a riot was an angry crowd, but an angry crowd can be perfectly harmless.

      My sister's partner looks like...Jean Reno

      Jean Reno
      Here we are, Pete Turner, my sisters bloke.  I think he looks like Jean Reno, from the film Leon


      Tuesday, 14 September 2010

      My death...

      "I'm the kind of guy that laughs at a funeral, can't understand what I mean? You soon will"
      Oh yes, the lyrics from Barenaked Ladies track, One Week.

      Last week on the news there was a tragic story about one of the musicans from the band ELO, who died when a hay bale rolled down a hill onto the road & crushed him in his car....My reaction? I laughed out loud.  I thought it was hilarious.

      If I was to die, before my time, then I'd much rather have a bizarre death than a long drawn out illness or something tragic. 

      She was killed by a speedboat which had falled off the back of a lorry, slid down a hill, though a car park, into the supermarket & killed her whilst she was selecting which dried pasta.  She had a bag of farfalle in her hand at the time....

      She was killed when a lorry shed its load of tinned alphabetti-spaghetti on the dual carriage way, she was driving on the other carriageway and didn't notice one of the tins had broken and splattered onto her windscreen, she didn't have enough water to clear the screen & her view was obstructed by the letters B U G G E and R

      She was killed by a pair of socks on a rotary washing line.  The socks were part of a 'dark load' that had just been hung out on a very windy day.  The washing line had spun so fast the washing had wrapped itself around her and the socks stuffed into her mouth, blocking her airway...They were her favourite black socks that read Lisa: Unique in Every Way

      It's one to talk about at your funeral, and it's one you won't forget, and it's one that'll make people laugh.
      I want people to laugh at my funeral. I want them to take photos.  It's one of the few occasions that you get all of your family and friends together in one room where they actually all talk to each other without arguing.

      Sunday, 12 September 2010

      My dining room decorating project

      This year we hope to have our dining room decorated. Wallpaper off, carpet removed, radiators moved, wood panelling burned (whilst dancing like a heebeejeebee), sockets moved, new furniture, new alcove storage, a window seat with storage - you get the idea.  We're not doing anything structural in here, so it should be straight forward...

      So we set to work stripping the wall paper off: wall & ceiling, to see what extent of plastering is required - just a skim? or completely replacing.Then we discover this quirky 'original feature' - the original plaster coving, discovered after removing some 'pretend' coving whilst stripping the wallpaper off the walls.

      Once the crazy coving is off the walls we take the ceiling wallpaper off to reveal this baked-bean coloured ceiling.  Nice.

      The we get to the fireplace, and take off some of the wooden panelling, hoping to reveal bare plaster....But no, we reveal...More wallpaper.

      I should point out that this wallpaper is completely different to the wallpaper I've removed from wall and ceiling.  It's like they couldn't be arsed to remove this. This actually comes off quite easily, so I'm not so cross about this.But then you get to the ceiling, and see that it's a flush join with a proper corner.  Where has the plaster coving gone from this bit?  Oh, I see, they've chiselled it out so their nice wooden panelling looks neat.
      So we've got this room, un wallpapered with 3 walls which have original ceiling coving (giving us no joins where wall-meets-ceiling) and on one wall with joins.

      And a bay window which is about 6 inches lower than the rest of the ceiling....what do we do?
      I know we'll lower the rest of the ceiling to match the bay window and not have to worry about the mish-mash of ceiling coving nonsense.

      Marzipan Frogs

      Remember my post about Betty's & the pic of the frogs? Well I decided that I could probably make a batch of them.  And so I did. Here's my guide to making marzipan frogs.
      1. Start with a batch of fairy cakes, peel off the paper, cut the top off, turn over & put the extra bit on the top.
      2. Get yourself some marzipan and if you haven't done so already, put a blob of gree food colouring in & mix it up  Handy tip: put the marzipan into a freezer bag & mix it up, so your hands won't get covered in green food colouring.
      3. Pull off a small amount of marzipan & roll out to 5mm, take a large round cutter & cut a circle out.
      4. Cover the fairy cake in apricot glaze & stick the marzipan to it & smooth over, tuck any extra bits underneath.
      5. Measure out 18g of marzipan for the head, roll into a ball, flatten slightly, slice one end for the mouth & shape it.  Use apricot glaze to stick this to the top of the base.
      6. For the eyes roll out small balls of marzipan & stick these to the back of the head.
      7. To whiten the eye, use a thick water-icing paste and dab-on carefully with a cocktail stick/skewer.
      8. To do the pupils use ready made writing icing, make sure it's soft (put the tube in a cup of hot water to soften), practise first & dot the eyes.
      9. Repeat for each frog & you should have yourselves a little crowd of the fellas.
      10. Now tidy up your mess before you eat one.
      To view a step by step photo guide go to this flickr page

      Saturday, 4 September 2010

      Not one for the faint-hearted

      Toad in the holeA couple of weekends ago the weather was lovely and hot and we decided to have a barbeque in the back garden (so far so good), we'd also invited the in-laws round for barbeque dinner too, and they joined us just after 4.

      We all sat around on the deckchairs chatting and getting along, when I noticed what my father-in-law was wearing, or rather wasn't.  My father-in-law was wearing a pair of loose summer shorts, and for some reason had chosen not to wear any undercrackers.

      You can imagine what I noticed, and that it's certainly something a daughter-in-law should never see.
      I did take Mr Lisa aside and ask him whether or not it would be appropriate for him to mention this to him, but he didn't, I just made sure I wasn't sat in a position where the offending article could offend me.

      Saturday, 7 August 2010

      Lisa's cakes

      We're going to Dr Watson's tonight, Mr Lisa sails with Dr Watson, I offered to take 'something made with strawberries' so I found this recipe online & made this strawberry gateau. My first attempt too. If it tastes shit, it'll also be my last!

      Published with Blogger-droid v1.4.9

      Monday, 2 August 2010

      Holiday toilet habits

      Whenever I'm on holiday staying in an unfamiliar location/bed I often find that I'm not as regular as I am normally.

      Take last week, I went away camping to Scotland.  I went on Monday and it wasn't until Thursday before I delivered my first poo of the week.  Normally I'm a once-a-day person.  It wasn't that I stopped myself doing it, I just can't physically go.

      The remedy
      Ahhh, that's better
      Cheap coffee, I bought a small jar of nescafe coffee.  Just the smell of it, induced movement!  The next day I just had to look at the label and I was away!  It worked a treat. 

      Dentists

      Simon Pegg

      I don't like going to the dentist, but I have to go.  In May I was told I needed to have a filling replaced, and now it's at the point where the old filling is practically non-existent and i keep having to poke bits of food out of it.

      I went to a private dentist until about 18months ago.  I would waste £50 for a 10 minute checkup from a dentist who looked like Simon Pegg he would always insist I visited the hygienist too for an extra £30, and she spent 20minutes delivering oral torture - poking and prodding my teeth and gums with every sharp implement she could find in her toolbox.  She always asked me How often do you floss? and every time I replied never.  I thought, what's the fucking point, if I'm paying you to do it for me.

      It was Simon Pegg who did the filling that needs replacing.  He must have only done it 2 years ago, and it cost me nearly £100.

      I go to an NHS dentist now, I don't see why I should be paying £50 per checkup for something I really dislike, I'm much happier paying the NHS rate of £16.

      The downside is that I've tried getting an appoinment for my filling, but can't get one until October 2010 - that's 2 months away!

      Sunday, 20 June 2010

      The Bridge Hotel: Handover


      Well, that's it - Bridge Hotel finished, tools down, job done - all done at 9pm Saturday evening (this was taken Sunday morning).

      Looking back at my original plans and ideas for ingredients have I used any?

      Yes: marzipan, red icing, mint thin wafers (doors), candy cigarette (flagpole).

      Did I encounter any problems?

      Yes, recommended sizes were a problem, so ignored those :)
      I also decided to do the side wall without rendering - just to see what it would look like, which meant I wasted half a packet of icing and had to go out on Saturday to find some. Fortunately the cake decorating shop in Tynemouth had some in.

      Will I build another one?

      Never say never. The possibilites are endless, doing an entire map of Newcastle PUBS would be a great follow-up to this.
      I was proud to be a part of cakebook & EAT! I've never done this kind of thing before, and felt that I could do it, and wanted to prove to myself that I could, and I did.


      Saturday, 19 June 2010

      Building work on The Bridge Hotel...

       
      Cakes out of the freezer and defrosted, let the cake building commence!!!!!

      Oh hang on, let's just have a cup of tea first, we are builders aren't we :)


       
      Bridge Hotel builders on site...

      As you can see we're layering the cake with buttercream and shaping it as we go. To the untrained eye it looks like a scruffy victoria sandwich, but to a trained building, this is progress!!!

      We decided to build the roof components separately, because it seemed a bit unsteady when we tried to sit it on top and work from there. If we need to we'll use wooden skewers to hold it to the rest of the cake.






      Today's team didn't get on site until 11am, might have been due to a footy game last night? Or maybe that they wouldn't start until they'd had a cuppa tea and bacon sarnie.


      (The man in the picture is waiting for the pub to open)

      It was rendered fairly quickly & easily (including the roof), and then the brickies got to work....After the side (nr car park) wall and back (incl beer garden) they stopped for lunch & had to go to the builders yard for more bricks...I'm hoping they get them before the brickyard closes tonight.

      Friday, 18 June 2010

      The Bridge Hotel has WINDOWS!!!!


      We experimented with sugar & water, boiled up and left on greasproof to harden - this created glass-like shapes, however cutting it was difficult, and after a few days in the air the nice 'clear' look of the 'glass' went opaque.

      Instead we decided to cut pieces of black icing and pipe-in the white frames.

      I chose the Bridge Hotel specifically because it didn't look like it had many window to do.
      When we visited the site we noticed all of the werrd and wonderful windows on the side facing the High Level Bridge. These in the pic above are all the different ones on this side.

      Loved piping them - I felt like a pro :)

      Saturday, 12 June 2010

      33mile bike ride - Northern Rock Cyclone 2010

      Today I rode the Northern Rock Cyclone! All 33 miles of it.  And I survived.

      The weather was fine, dry if a little cloudy.  Not too hot, not too cold - just right.
      I'd planned my ride outfit the night before, usual padded shorts & '3-qtr baggies,' purple-sleeved top and my charity t-shirt from RNLI.

      I'd done my registration on Friday night, and recieved my 'tag' a wristband with timer/chip, so all I needed to do on Saturday was turn up.

      Last night I'd been doing some last minute practice: practising removing my wheel, putting it back on, and I even had a go at dealing with a puncture, although I still planned to take my emergency £10.

      I met my colleague (& pacesetter), Jamie Stogden shortly before 9.30am, we made a quick loo stop and got through the start line smoothly; we set of 9.30am and set off at a pretty quick pace, overtaking some families and slow people.

      We also passed small kids on diddy bikes, people on tandems and parents pulling children in those trailer things they put on bikes.

      After about 6miles, we stopped for a brief 'glug' of our water and I blew my nose and some local villagey people had made flapjacks & gave out cups of water to riders.  Heading away from them we passed fellow work colleague Nuala.

      Our 33mile route was signposted with green arrows, and we left the blue (66) and black (104) arrow routes after about 10 miles, ahead of us, no one, and behind us, no one, and we had a little go at doing non-handed, Jamie was rubbish.

      At the 17mile mark we celebrated, half-way round and heading back home...the ride was steady all the way, hilly in parts, but nothing too strenuous.

      For the really hilly hills, I had a quiet word with my thighs, encouraging them to work hard, and promised them a twix finger at the timing station, and they did me proud.

      We rode on and on, Jamie's squeaky brake disk provided a regular squeak which I found myself pedalling in time to.  Jamie wasn't happy, but felt much better when we overtook some girl riding a bike that squeaked like a wheelbarrow!

      Along the way, the state of the road varied, some roads were smooth and fast, others were rough as hell and I made a mental note of the village name, and whether I'd be writing to complain, or compliment.

      We had some fast downhills, and I took advantage of these by shouting "whoooooooooooooo" and on one occasion I unhooked my shoes from the holderthings on the pedals and stuck them out in excitement.  During these displays I sensed Jamie making a mental note, not to ride with me again.

      We reached our timing station at 22miles and took a well earned 5minute stop for a quick bite, a drink & toilet stop and headed off again to do our final 12 miles back to Kingston Park.  The other rides (66 and 104) joined us on this road, so we found ourselves getting overtaken by some speedy 66milers on nippy bikes with drop-handles.

      We kept up the steady 12mph ride, uphill, downhill and and on and on, soon after the 25mile mark my legs decided to hurt, my thighs in particular.  I knew they'd complain, I'd only trained to 25miles, and the last 8 miles really really hurt.  Jamie kept my spirits up and we finished the ride after 2hr 51minutes of riding.

      See the ride here on endomondo

      I clocked in, complained about my legs, got off my bike and huddled up, after a few minutes, legs aching I collected my official time slip and goody bag.

      Although I didn't feel it at the time, I know I've done myself proud...
      • Rode an average speed of 12mph
      • Finished in 2hr 51mins, the fastest I'd ever ridden
      • Placed 125 out of 600 riders (for the 33mile ride)
      • Raised £444 for my chosen charity, Royal National Lifeboat Institute, I'd only set myself a target of £150!!

      A great day, a great ride, and a great cycling buddy :)

      Riding again next year? No, I'm not even thinking about next year!!

      Wednesday, 9 June 2010

      The Bridge Hotel - Cake Build - Cake baking

      Excuses first:

      I've been slacking recently weekends in training for Northern Rock Cyclone, plus keeping my allotment relatively weed-free whilst sowing & planting, and then also creating a carnival float for Whit Bank Holiday weekend for family in North Yorkshire.

      Back on track
      In my shame I spent 4-evenings last week baking and freezing the sponge cakes needed for the build and I've been jotting down ways to make the windows, drainpipes, flagpole and the doors.  I've had my engineer/draughtsman (aka Mr Lisa) drawing up the plans, based on the recommended sizes, and then working out from photos what scale we need to do the windows/doors etc (he's good with a calculator and ruler), however he's noticed a slight problem with the sizes...

      The recommended sizes for our build is 100mm x 250mm and the height suggestion is 500mm, 5 times the width which doesn't seem right.  After a few scratchy head moments and a panicky, lets check the mesaurements/plans again, we decided to see what the advice is on ning.

      Fortunately we're allowed to employ Mr Artisitc Licence...Hurrah! He's been a fabulous help in making the build slightly more flexible in size, a little bit shorter in height & maybe a tad wider.  We're now looking at a 50% increase in width and length, but not in height.

       I'll sleep well now.


      Monday, 7 June 2010

      I love Betty's


      Betty's in Northallerton is one of those places that oozes snobbery and poshness, I remember asking my mum to take me there for my 8th or 10th birthday.  I remember it vividly, I got a cheese omelette a strawberry milkshake and a Betty's banana boat.  I don't know how much it cost, but I'm sure my mum spent a small fortune in there.

      Whenever I go to visit Northallerton I always pop in to see what delights they've got behind the counter.

      Last time they had these little fellas in, I'm sure I could make something like this, but don't they look great.  They look like they're having a chat.

      They remind me of the aliens in ToyStory (when they're waiting for The Claw)

      Sunday, 6 June 2010

      First ever carnival float

      This year marked the first year in my history that I've planned, designed and starred in my own carnival float at the annual Brompton Carnival (2010), along with my niece and nephew.

      It was conceived about 6 weeks before the actual carnival, coming up with an idea that would:
      1. Be quick and easy to put together
      2. Would require few people on the trailer
      3. Would be unique (never been done before)
      How could we do this?
      Christmas.  We'd cover the trailer with Christmas decorations, last years Christmas cards, tinsel, paperchains, empty boxes wrapped up, homemade decorations (from salt-dough) and anything else Chrismassy we could find, we'd play Christmas music too.  And our theme/slogan Christmas gets earlier every year

      Jack (14 YO nephew) would be Father Christmas, Emily (9 YO niece) would be visiting Father Christmas (dressed in her bestest Christmas frock).  The trailer would be turned into a grotto, and me, I'd stand at the side of the trailer, as a snowman.

      I made my outfit from scratch: a white duvet cover fashioned into 2 snowballs, basically making 2 skirts with hoops to hold the fabric out.  The top skirt was elasticated at the top and bottom, whereas the bottom skirt was loose (so I could walk.  The head was a little more difficult, and the rounded shape was created with a hanging-basket liner (new), a carrot-nose created with a squeaky dog-toy on elastic (also new), and funky-foam mouth, and eyes.  The eyes had stretched tights across, so I could see where I was going.  I wore a black top and long gloves too.  A scarf tidied up any loose ends of the pillowcase hear.

      On the day: there were 5 floats and we came 2nd, call me biased but I thought our float was better than the winning one; the winners were in the back of a pick-up (hardly a mechanically drawn vehicle) decorated in branches from a tree, complete with  3 kids in animal outfits and a woman wearing a safari suit, they were In the Jungle. IMHO - not very creative, inventive and clearly shop-bought outfits, but I could be biased.

      33mile bike ride training 1 week to go

      Last weekend before the big ride, Sat 5th June was a scorcher and I decided not to go out, why? because I didn't want to melt.  If it's a scorcher next week then I'll melt into nothingness and it'll be okay.  If i melt too soon then I'll be put off for life.

      USB loaded with 'motivational music', anything with an upbeat tempo (most Chemical Brothers tracks fit).  Also it's worth noting that when I cycle alone I listen to music to motivate me, a good beat keeps my cycling to a constant rhythm, and I sing along during th easy bits.
      Note: I only wear the left headphone, the right one is for traffic.

      I was sporting a new pair of cycling gloves too (Mr Lisa bought them for me) :)

      And, I was trying out Mr Lisa's cycle-shoes (lucky we take the same size shoe), nice black shoes with velcro fastener at the top (I've always wanted a pair of velcro trainers).  he has told me I can wear them for the ride next week...I might :)

      Weather at the coast was a bit overcast & misty, quite a contrast from yesterday.  Had a good ride, only 12 miles, but a nice ride nonetheless.
      See the ride at Endomondo

      Worst bit: St Mary's Lighthouse to Seaton Sluice (Delaval Arms)
      Best bit: Waggonways (The Avenue near Seaton Delaval Hall, to Monkseaton Drive)

      Friday, 28 May 2010

      33mile bike ride training 2 weeks to go

      Couldn't get out on the bike last weekend as we had our stepson over the weekend, and bike rides were off the menu.

      Decided to go out after work on Friday night, wasn't intending on doing a long one.....22miles later.

      I was impressed with myself for going out after work, but my legs weren't so impressed.

      See the ride at endomondo

      Tuesday, 25 May 2010

      The Bridge Hotel: Planning, ideas, inspiration & books

      I'm signed up to NewcastleGateshead EAT! Festival 2010, one of the events is a grand-design....Iconic Newcastle-Gateshead buildings made from cake.

      I've bagged The Bridge Hotel, a nice pub located next to the High Level Bridge in Newcastle, overlooking the Tyne.

      I'm signed upto the 'ning network' for cake bakers involved in this project (amateurs & professionals alike) and blogging on my progress: research, prototypes, ingredients, etc...

      Planning: Did a quick search of google-images of The Bridge Hotel, then used google-street view to get some good pics, which I've printed off and scribbed on. I do plan to get off my lazy backside & walk down there, but for the time being Google maps & street view are helping me with my initial plans and ideas for what ingredients to use where.

      Inspiration (& Books):
      I've also been inspired by Heston Blumenthal & his feast-series, particularly the Hansel & Gretel House. My mum bought me a copy of Life is Sweet by Hope & Greenwood which has some ideas for creating my tiles and windows.

      The left side of the pub is all red-brick, I'm guessing the right is the same and then there's the beer garden bit out the back, which I'm not going to worry about just yet...

      Monday, 24 May 2010

      Am I a victim?


      Bought this gorgeous little fella from ebay, I've wanted one for a while and had hoped to get a genuine 1970s one, complete with someones scribbly name & address on the inside.


      Apparently they're IN this season.



      I also liked the look of this at a jumble sale, and later found out that tapestry bags are also in fashion this season.



      I should also state that I have never (& will never) buy/wear the following: UGG-boots, Smocks or Jeggings - if I break this rule, please feel free to shoot me.

      Saturday, 15 May 2010

      33 mile bike ride training: 4 weeks to go

      I finally did it, faced my demons and rode to Newcastle City Centre, spent about 30minutes taking pictures of the Bridge Hotel (for cake-building in preparation for Eat NewcastleGateshead 2010, Cakebook)

      I'd been avoiding cycling into town for ages, I associate cycling to town with going to work, I'm familiar with the road-journey and imagined the bike-ride would be equally monotonous.  I know cycle-paths exist, and was basing my fears on the road-route.

      The ride into town was quite pleasant, good weather, along the river, and upto the quayside.  After a short stop taking pics of the Bridge Hotel we headed up town and to work - to take some pictures to prove to myself that I'd actually cycled to my place of work


      View the ride here

      The ride back was pretty hellish, a long hard slog, once I'd reached Benton I'd lost the will to live and wanted to crawl the rest of the way.

      When I eventually got home I crawled upstairs, had a nice hot bath and did very little for the rest of the evening.




      Does this mean I'll be cycling to work/from work?
      Does it heckers like

      ==============================================================================


      Northern Rock Cyclone 2010

      Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles

      Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

      Wednesday, 28 April 2010

      33mile bike ride training week6 (6ish weeks to go)

      I didn't get out last weekend, so I made a promise to myself that I'd get myself out during the week, yes seriously, and yes after work.

      I initially thought about doing a timed ride, that is to say, go out for an hours ride regardless of distance. However, the problem for me is that I'm still not sure where to go, so instead I picked a few places that I'd been before and decided to that.

      So, my route:
      Monkseaton Drive, Coast, St Marys Lighthouse, Delaval Arms, Holywell Dene, Waggonways, Monkseaton Drive.

      I anticipated 5 miles, but clocked up 7.5miles instead.

      I fell off
      There's a tricky little off-road, uphill bit as you turn off the main road from Old Hartley, on the 2 other occasions I've done it I stopped half way up (because Carl fell off half-way), the other time I reached the top trouble-free and whooped loudly (pleased with myself). And tonight I got half way, lost my balance and fell off sideways into a fence & nettles. I felt so mortified (I knew someone was close behind me) I grabbed my bike and pushed it to the top swearing under my breath. Oddly, the person I thought was behind me, wasn't, I don't know where he went.

      My leg is still stinging & tingly with nettle stings :(

      I'm using this free app Endomondo for my phone to track my ride too, it's quite cool. View the full ride, route, timings & hilly bits.


      ==============================================================================
      Northern Rock Cyclone 2010
      Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles
      Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

      Friday, 23 April 2010

      Free samples of Kelloggs Krave (my review)


      There were people giving these away today on Northumberland Street (NE1) & I got 2 boxes. On reflection, I wish I hadn't wasted my energy.

      They're small, smaller than I'd expected, and resemble a scampi fry. The crispy outter isn't great I detect a slight saltiness about them which doesn't work with the chocolate/nut filling (which is basically nutella).
      I wouldn't buy them and don't recommend them & will be putting the rest of them in the bin (I'll recycle the box).

      Monday, 19 April 2010

      Icelandic volcano shenanigans, my thoughts on the matter


      On Thursday 15th/Friday 16th April 2010 it all kicked off, flights were cancelled, folk were stranded abroad, and it was all caused by a volcano in Iceland (not the supermarket, the country).

      The science behind it was, plane flies through cloud of volcanic ash, ash clogs up jet engines, planes crash, people die. (This isn't the official science,this is my interpretation of the science. The official science is here.)


      So most of Northern Europe airspace was closed and everyone sat twiddling their thumbs waiting for the wind of change, that is to say, the volcanic ash blows in another direction and they can open up the airspace.

      How did it affect me?
      Well it didn't directly, I have friends due to go on holiday, who couldn't and friends on holiday and stuck in San Francisco.

      So, who's benefited from this?
      The cost of closing the airspace has probably benefited the planet by at least 50years, normally lost through pollution.

      Estate agents with properties located around the major airports will probably have sold one or two homes "Number 23, Heathrow-Airport View?, Oh yes it's a lovely quiet little neighbourhood"

      And then there's all of those hotels, train companies, hire-car companies and ferry companies, who'll be cashing in on those stranded. I hate people like that. Cashing in on other people's misfortunes. The thieving little....

      Sunday, 18 April 2010

      33mile bike ride training week 6 (8 weeks to go)

      Saturday was a gorgeous day, but I was visiting family, so couldn't get out on the bike, Sportacus/Mr Lisa cycled from Whitley Bay to Northallerton (keeping off the busy roads), 62 miles!

      Today I headed out to do a repeat of last week's 18mile ride, plus a bit more if I felt up to it and I did! I clocked up 20miles.

      The first 10miles, I was on my own, just me The Chemical Brothers Exit Planet Dust and The Prodigy Invaders Must Die. Then I met up with Mr Lisa along the seafront at Whitley Bay and we carried on another 10miles.

      I've now reached my 20mile target (a week early).


      ==============================================================================
      Northern Rock Cyclone 2010
      Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles
      Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

      Saturday, 10 April 2010

      33mile bike ride training week5 (9 weeks to go)



      Ahh the weekend again, I'd planned another bike ride, and the forecast promised good weather: bright, sunny, dry and little breeze.

      I had decided that this weekend I'd do a local ride, and aim for somewhere between 15-20 miles. Mr Lisa had planned the route (he knows these like the back of his hand) and we set off early, 11.30am (that is early for me!)

      Mr Lisa wears this GPS thing which tracks the route and planned the route via this GPS tracking website, it's a handy site, as you can see I've added the route-map to this blog post.

      So, in brief the route took us: Earsdon, Shiremoor, Silverlink, Percy Main, Royal Quays, North Shields Fish Quay, Tynemouth (up that hill), along to Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, St Marys Lighthouse and up to The Delaval Arms (Seaton Sluice), Holywell-ish, Monkseaton Drive.

      The paths were a lot dryer and easier to cycle, I didn't have to get off and push, and got home feeling really pleased with myself again.

      My body doesn't hurt, I'm not tired (physically), my thighs ache a little, and my undercarriage isn't sore either.

      According to the Training Plan I should be doing 20 miles by the end of April, I think I'm on track! Geddit?? :)


      ==============================================================================
      Northern Rock Cyclone 2010
      Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles
      Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

      Thursday, 8 April 2010

      "We're off, we're off, we're off in a bumper car"

      We're off, we're off, we're off in a bumper car
      Sixty cops are after us, and we don't know where we are
      Turning round the corner, eatin' apple pie
      The cop sez 'give us a bit' and I chucked it in his eye
      I went to tell me mum, me mother wasn't in
      I went to tell me dad and he chucked me in the bin!


      I think that this was one of those songs you sang on the back of a bus/school trip. I don't know what triggered this memory, I just came out with it yesterday afternoon walking through Exhibition Park.

      Sunday, 4 April 2010

      33mile bike ride training week4 (10 weeks to go)



      Easter Bank Holiday weekend, 4 days at home, an ideal time to do some serious training.

      Me & Mr Lisa thought that maybe one training session away from home (pack up the car, drive somewhere & do a stint) and one closer to home (start/finish at home).

      Mr Lisa checked the weather for Saturday, all looked 'fine', he mapped out a journey (approx 15mile round trip) and we headed off.

      Start/End points were Ellington, about 15miles north of us, we parked in their library car park (a library? you ask. A library indeed).
      The weather seemed dry (if a little dull) and no wind troubles (snigger).

      Set off just after 2pm and headed out of the village, off the main road, along an uphill track towards the sea, Lynemouth over to our right. At the sea we turned left and headed along towards Cresswell, destination Druridge Bay visitor's centre (some 7 miles up the coast. As we passed by the caravan site at Creswell the rain started, and got heavier, so much for that 'fine' weather. The rain got steadily heaver as we left the road and turned onto a track, puddly in parts. Half-way across we reached a field full of cows. just through the entrance gate was a 3x3 metre patch of thick, acky, sticky mud. Mr Lisa let me through first, not sure if that was to have a good laugh if I fell off, or put my foot down. Fortunately I somehow managed to get through the gate and cross the mud without putting my foot down! The rest of the field was grassy with the odd muddy/puddly patch, then we re-joined a tarmac road, which took us to the visitors centre. It was still raining when we arrived at the centre, just stopping to use the facilities, catch our breath and decided we'd head back and enjoy a cuppa tea back at home.

      We left the visitor centre, and managed to miss our intended track, and tool a slight detour up through a field, trying to cycle up the hill, my wheels grappled with the mud, marsh and puddles, the top of the hill seemed to take forever, I was in the lowest gear and my thighs were burning, I was adamant that I wasn't going to stop until I'd reached the top, and bugger me I got there. I was pretty fucked when I arrived, panting and grunting, and gulping at my water bottle, but I'd got there. Problem was, we still hadn't reached the path we needed, and had to then cycle along the other edge of the field...I managed some of it, but not all of it, I did get off an push for half of it.

      When we got to the end we found our intended track, a proper tarmac track, it was nice to be back on the road again. This looped us back on to the initial road we took, the bit that joined the cow-field and the sticky mud (again). I took the lead again, cycling through the mud and negotiating the gate, without putting a foot down, I held onto the fence, pushed the gate and cycled in through the gate (phew!).

      The next (and final) part of the ride took us off the main road again, ending slightly differently to how we started. Mr Lisa slowed down, pointed along towards one of the nature reserves (a flooded pit/similar) and told me that our ride went along there, and if I wanted to go that way, or continue back the way we came? I chose the track by the pond, and we cycled along, the grass-track heading uphill away from the pond and into the hedge lined route. Argghh! Bog, marsh, mud, hill. It was horrendous, too slippy, hard on my legs and so slow, new bramble growth grabbling for the wheels, spokes and legs. I got off a couple of times and pushed, when we reached a flatter, dryer patch I'd get back on, I carried on like this for what seemed like an age. The sign at the turn off said Ellington 2 miles (it seemed longer). We reached another puddle, this wasn't a quick splash type of puddle it was a long (5 metre) puddle, stretching across the path, we couldn't go around it, Mr Lisa went first, he reached half way before putting his foot down, and pushing his bike, over his ankles half-way up his calf. I watched anxiously. Shit. Once Mr Lisa was safely through, I took a deep breath and walked though it, feeling the cold water fill my trainers, over my ankles and up my legs, washing the bramble grazes from my legs. It was squishy underfoot, the bike felt heavy and grasses on the path, slithered over my legs uughh.

      We hopped back on the bike and cycled further, and reached something that I can only describe as a flooded stream. It was the path, but we couldn't see the end of it, completely covered it water, god knows how deep it was. I was about to start pushing my bike though it when Mr Lisa said, come on, we'll go over the fence. He'd spotted a gap, we could climb through the brambles and chuck our bikes over the fence, we did that, and spotted a gate on the other side of the field. We pushed our bikes over towards the gate, finding ourselves back in ankle-high marshy puddles and once though the gate, I told Mr Lisa off, telling him never to give me an option like this again, taking blame for finding ourselves knee-deep in water.

      The track we found ourselves on took us off-road again, not as bad as before, but puddly and uphill. I was jiggered, and got off and pushed, once off here, we joined a proper road, back in Ellington Village, I gave it one last burst, my feet still twice as heavy as when I started and legs covered in little scratch marks, when I saw the car I felt elated. I'd made it!!

      Mr Lisa got the cars back into the car, I took off my sodden socks and shoes and put some trousers on, we called in at the Farm Shop by Widdrington, Mr Lisa picked up some cake and we drove home to eat it.

      The ride took a good 2 hrs.
      15 miles long, but bloody ages to ride.
      The weather started fine, turned to rain (heavy) and then lightened up and stopped by the time we reached the car.

      Jiggered. Loved it. I definitely don't want to do it again though!!

      ==============================================================================
      Northern Rock Cyclone 2010
      Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles
      Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

      Sunday, 28 March 2010

      33mile bike ride training week3 (11 weeks to go)

      I've done 3 weeks of training and have hit my training target (15miles by the end of March). I'm feeling proud of myself for getting here. Not just because it feels like a long way, but also because I went out and did it on my own (Mr Lisa was away in Edinburgh), so I got myself out of bed and went for it.

      Weather: Sunny and breezy.

      I did 2 laps of the 7mile run I did the other week, and it seemed to take me about 90mins or so, I didn't take a note of the actual time.

      The ride:
      - From my house up to Earsdon village, through the village and along to Church Farm
      - From the road to off-road, on the Waggonways
      This bit was a bit up hill and exposed (blowy) so it was a bit of a slog to start with
      - Then there's a bit of junction, I took the 2nd right, heading along the track
      - Out by the old pit slag-heap, cross the road and back off road again along a track
      - Follow the track, pass a house (on the right) and continue until the track veers right
      This is more sheltered and I kept doing bursts of fast-sprints along here, lots of puddles too :)
      - Then the track slopes downhill (this is the fun bit)
      - You reach a bridge going over a stream, the road bridge is higher up & parallel (this is Holywell)
      I stop for a rest on the bridge, have a drink etc
      - Then up hill, along the footpath, and into Holywell, cross the road by the pub taking a right turn
      - Pass the houses on this estate, at the end there's a big kerb & gateway to get though (this is where Mr Lisa fell off the other week)
      - Once through the gate it's a nice fast off road track
      - As you near the trees there's a turn to the right, which takes you downhill and onto the Waggonways track again
      - Once on the Waggonways, there's a good sprint opportunity heading back, slightly uphill
      - The track goes on for some distance, it's a nice sheltered ride and takes you back to Monkseaton Drive
      I turn off before the main road, heading along the housing estate, and out by the Red House Farm pub (it's a bit less exposed)
      - Then once you're on Monkseaton Drive, it's a slow grinding ride to the top where the roundabout is (near Sainsburys)
      This is the last bit and it also kills me.
      - The next lap would take me right, back up to Earsdon.
      - I'd go left here to head home (about 500 yards or so)

      When I finished I was pretty wobbly, jelly-legs and what-have-you, but after a shower and something to eat I felt fine.

      Today, my legs don't hurt, but my undercarriage is feeling a bit saddlesore, and I know it can only get worse.

      We've got 11 weeks to go, the clocks have changed, so I'm hoping I can add another mid-week ride to my training programme.

      ==============================================================================
      Northern Rock Cyclone 2010
      Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles
      Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

      I had a dream last night (Sat 28th March)

      I dreamt I was driving in France with Mr Lisa, we'd gone through a tunnel (similar to the Tyne Tunnel) and were heading across the border to Italy. In my dream, the place was called San Milo, but I don't know if this place really exists.

      Friday, 26 March 2010

      I had a dream last night (Thur 25th March)

      I had 3 dreams last night. All of them quite bizarre.

      1: I was convinced that it was Saturday morning.

      2: I went out with my brother to play darts, but ended up playing tennis with Pete Blythe & lost (the sun was in my eyes).

      3: I was on a metro, it derailed in Northallerton, skidded across the roundabout nr Kwikfit & nearly crashed into the Tanner Hop. When I rang mum to tell her, she told her about a tasty spag bol dinner that she'd just cooked!

      Sunday, 14 March 2010

      33mile bike ride training week2 (1 month later)

      I'd decided before the weekend that I really should get back out on the bike for a bit more practice (last week I'd been in Paris for my birthday, week before it was rainy, week before that I was in Edinburgh).

      Made a cracking 3-egg bacon & mushroom omelette for breakfast, so I'd be able to cycle for miles.

      Shaved my hairy legs and changed my socks (was wearing my bagpuss pink/white stripeys but changed them to my Lisa socks). Left the house about 11.15am.

      It was a bit of a blowy start (into the wind) up to Earsdon along the road, then off road towards Holywell. We kept a steady pace and I did a few short sprints. Mr Lisa decided to fall as we were leaving Holywell village, but he was fine (he'll probably tell you it was my fault), and we had a good cycle back towards Monkseaton Drive.

      It was a lot warmer than last time, and I wore too many layers.
      But was pleased with the distance and time, and the fact that I wasn't feeling too nackered afterwards.

      If I can aim for double the distance by the end of March I'll be happy!

      ==============================================================================
      Northern Rock Cyclone 2010
      Saturday 12th June 2010, 33miles
      Raising money for the RNLI, please sponsor me!

      I had a dream last night (Sat 13th March)

      Saturday 13th March:
      I dreamt I was naked in a shopping centre & had to walk through the crowds to get to the car park (& hide in my car)

      Friday, 12 March 2010

      I had a dream last night (Thur 11th March)




      Thursday 11th March:

      I dreamt my hair was knotted up, when I finally managed to brush it I brushed out some pink Barbie/Sindy doll plastic shoes.

      I dreamt I went to a prison (to visit no one in particular) & handed out #cadburys #fudges to the inmates.