Hand washing is rubbish!

As per the title, hand washing certainly is very rubbish!

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A few weeks ago, the drum of my washing machine broke and the whole thing has dropped down, so it won’t actually turn round anymore (I basically put too much washing in it!), and so I’ve just bought a cheapo portable washing machine from Maplin. It’s kind of like a food mixer for clothes – you fill it with warm water and washing powder, and leave your clothes churning around in it for about half an hour.  So far, so good.

But unfortunately, that’s all it does!

So you then have to take the clothes out of it, and spend hours rinsing all the clothes to get all the soap of out, and trying to squeeze out as much of the water as possible. And because they’re still really wet when you hang them up, the clothes take ages to dry!

Not sure how much longer I’m going to have to do it for… I obviously need to buy a new washing machine, but with me planning to get my kitchen extension done sometime this year, there’s not much point getting a new one until I know what the new kitchen will be like. I may even start going to the launderette – although the thought of doing that is quite weird!

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Also, the Sunday before last, I went on another bike ride with Dave and Rob. Tom was planning to come with us, but had to drop out at the last minute, which was a shame. Although, since he’s such an experienced cyclist, I think I’d have been worried I was really slowing him down!

This time we didn’t venture too far – we cycled down to Chorlton Ees Nature Reserve, following the River Mersey from Didsbury, and then circling back to Dave’s via Chorlton.  I’m still a bit wary riding on main roads, especially with buses randomly pulling out, but I managed okay!

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It was actually a pretty cool route – for quite a bit of it you forget you’re so close to the motorway and built-up areas, and most of it was a dirt path alongside the river. When we got to the nature reserve, the route Dave was planning on taking us down was all closed off for some reason, so we had to double-back on ourselves a bit, taking a bit of a short-cut across to Chorlton.  All in all, I think we did about 12 miles which I didn’t find too knackering!

The weather was really nice too – pretty sunny, although since it’s only March, it isn’t quite t-shirt weather yet!

I’ve added photos from the afternoon to my biking photo album of Facebook.

26 miles this week!

I’ve been cycling again this week – first off I did 10 miles at the gym, which took took me about 40 minutes, and although my legs were like jelly when I got off, I was pleased that later on, my legs weren’t aching at all.  Again, the only thing which I could feel was the negative effect of the saddle!

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Anyway, today we went back to the Upper Derwent Valley at the end of the Snake Pass, and did the same route as a couple of weeks ago.

I went with Dave again, and this time Rob came with us.  We started a lot earlier than last time because Rob needed to get back mid afternoon to travel down to a gig in Solihull, so we got to the visitors centre at Fairholmes at about 10.30am, and set off around the reservoirs just before 11 o’clock.

There was a lot less snow and ice this time round, although there were still a couple of places where a few small snow drifts are still hanging on in there.

I found the first 10 or so miles pretty alright, and was able to go much longer between breather stops than last time, and I managed some of the ‘hills’ that I struggled with before, although I did get off and push for a few of them still!  At about 13 or 14 miles, I started getting really tired, and unfortunately at that part of the route, there’s a bit of a stretch which has an incline, so I ended up doing that on foot!  Then I managed the last couple of miles back to the car park, where we managed to grab a hot drink which was very welcome!  Dave and Rob were really good too, because obviously I was slowing them down, but they kept pretty much at my pace, and when they did ride ahead, they’d always wait for me to catch up.

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I’m feeling totally knackered now, but it’s more of an overall tiredness rather than any aching legs or anything, which is good.  One thing I’m pretty sure of is that I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight!

I’ve added some photos of the day to my biking album here.

Back on my bike

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Yesterday I went to the Upper Derwent Valley in the Peak District with Dave for a bit of a bike ride around the three reservoirs there.

I’d not ridden my bike since my holiday in Anglesey last year, and the last time I did this route was back in 2007 when I did my first ride in 16 years with Jamie Hill.

Anyway, back to yesterday, and we arrived at about 1.15pm and parked up, and set our bikes up before changing into our riding gear.  It was pretty cold, so I’d gone for a layers approach with t-shirt, hoody and coat, and tracksuit bottoms over some cycling shorts.  Dave being the crazy man that he is opted for a Villa top and shorts!

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I was really out of practice, but soon got into it, although I do find hills quite difficult.  Obviously I need to build up my strength and stamina, and if I can get rid of some weight over the next year it will really help as well.

There was quite a lot of ice and leftover snow around, which made a few sections quite interesting, but it was a bright, dry day which was good.  Although when we were in the shade it was absolutely freezing!

Dave was a really good bike partner to have, because I know he was riding a lot slower and took more breaks than he normally would do, but he was totally fine about it.  Hopefully the more riding I do, the better I will be with regard to that.

I got a couple of painful muscle twinges nearer the end of the ride, which is a bit concerning, but maybe that’s just down to me not being used to so much exercise!

We actually did 16 miles which is quite a lot really!  And to be honest my legs aren’t aching too much, although I have a really sore arse from my saddle!  Again, I assume that’s something which you don’t notice after a while!

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My goal with the whole biking thing is to be able to cycle long distances without too much pain (and to get much fitter in the process!)  Dave’s really keen on doing a Land’s End to John O’Groats ride next year sometime, and I’d really love to be able to join him on that, even though I know it would be the hardest thing I’d ever do!  As part of the build up to it, the plan is to look to do a Coast to Coast ride this year, with about 50 – 60 miles a day for about 4 – 5 days, so it could be achievable for me if I really work for it.  Hopefully me blogging about it might give me more of an incentive to really train for it, so that I can avoid the embarrassment of looking back at this in a couple of years time having not done it!

You can see the photos from the ride here.

Slippery slope…

Thought I’d better do an update for February considering it’s the last day of the month!

Anyway, I’ve been really busy with work, and a lot of my time has been taken up with working on ‘The Soul Shutter‘ (notice there’s a ‘The‘ there now… I only discovered that after doing the opening titles!) I think I’ve now finished with all the CG work – there’s a meeting that Hamish and Rob are going to on Thursday to get feedback, but to be honest, I don’t really have any more time to work on it, and I’ve already put hours more work into it than I originally thought I’d have to. It’s fine because it does look really good, but they’re getting a really good deal!

Went for another bike ride with Jamie on Sunday afternoon which was good. We rode along the Longdendale Trail which is a route that goes runs alongside 5 reservoirs and follows the old Manchester to Sheffield railway line, and in all we did 14 miles there and back! I really enjoy going out on the bike, though I need to get some proper cycling shorts to wear under my trackie bottoms because I got quite sore from the saddle! It’s cool spending time with Jamie as well ‘cos we don’t get to catch up that often.

At the beginning of February, me and James went down to London for a couple of days to attend this year’s Video Forum event which was really good. Got to go to a few good production seminars, and saw loads of kit I’d like to buy! Did actually spend a bit of cash buying a better head for my tripod and a remote zoom unit for my camera which should be useful.

We stayed in a Travelodge in the city centre, and the room wasn’t the greatest! It had a double and single bed with probably the worst mattresses in the world (I went for the single because it seemed slightly better!), only 3 of the 5 lightbulbs worked, and the walls and ceiling were covered in Artex which game the room a distinctly 70s feel! In the evening we went out for a meal at a restaurant in Kings Cross, and I had my first lager (a couple of bottles of Peroni on James’ recommendation), and it was very good! It’s kind of weird because obviously I’ve never really drank alcohol, but this year I’ve decided to start to do so (responsibly of course!)… my reasons for not drinking before have always been about not wanting to lose control, but I came to the conclusion that at end of the day, whether I get myself into that situation is of my own making, and by having a drink every so often doesn’t mean that I have to give up any control of myself! Though the next night we met up for a meal with Cathy and Frank and I had a pint and a coffee with a double Baileys in it(!) so it may look as though I’ve become a hardened drinker all of the sudden, but I was able to still walk in a straight line afterwards!!

On yer bike

It was back in November 2005 that I blogged about buying myself a mountain bike… well I’m kind of embarrassed to say that today was the first time I’ve actually ridden it!!

I went with Jamie into the Peaks, and we did a ride around Ladybower, Derwent and Howden reservoirs. It was about 15 miles in all, which is quite intense when you’ve not been on a bike for 16 years! I was quite apprehensive to start with – the longer I’ve waited to do it, the more I’ve convinced myself that I wouldn’t be able to ride any more!

We started off on a reasonably quiet road and I was soon able to ride without wobbling too much, and then quite soon we went onto a track around the valley which was pretty muddy and rocky in places, but generally wasn’t too much of a nightmare. It took me a while to get used to the gears again… it’s crazy because before I got a car, I used to cycle everywhere, but I suppose it was nearly half a lifetime ago!

Definitely plan to do it again soon, although I am starting to feel the after effects of it all now… my legs are aching and it’s painful when I sit down!

New bike!

My new bike!Well I went out and bought a bike this afternoon! I’ve been trying to make up my mind for the last week on whether to get one, and then I decided if I didn’t get it now, I never would!

It’s a Specialized Hardrock FS mountain bike, and I tried sitting on it in the shop, and it seems really good (not that I could really tell!! But I’ve been told it’s a good bike!)

I pushed it back to the office rather than make my first journey in 15 years through Manchester city centre! I think the last time I rode a bike was doing a paper round!!

It’s certainly going to be quite different to my last bike… for a start, this bike has 24 gears – when I was 18 I had a five speed second-hand racing bike which I used to ride everywhere – until I got a car! I think I’m going to need to find a park or somewhere to take it out and learn how to ride again, without anyone seeing me!!