Monday, 27 July 2009

The one where I attempt to win a number of Darwin awards

I think I have managed to post this, I guess if you are reading it I have been successful. Being in Sicily is an interesting experiance which I will detail in next weeks BlackLOG. Even the keyboard that I'm using is like from another planet, with it's strange key placements. Just finding access to the internet would take a book on it's own. Just take it from me that I did..... P.S. don't try and post a video link from Sicily unless you have about three days to spare.....

How to fail to win a Darwin award
Following a couple of weeks of sporting excess and, if I'm honest, spectacular failure, our much needed rest was put on hold as Mrs B organised a day trip for my birthday. For a number of years we had held a birthday BBQ but Mrs B felt enough was enough and decided something less stressful was in order. So out went the BBQ and in came a trip to Woburn Safari park with a side order of Zip wiring at Go Ape (an add-on to the Safari experience).

Mrs B managed to sign up 10 of our friends and arranged to meet up with everyone at the entrance of the Safari park. It worked reasonably well other than two friends running a little late. To be fair though, they were coming the furthest distance (Mrs B made me put that in, I put id down to them being Geographicaly challenged). We got hold of Hugh and his son Alec on their mobile and established that they were close by, so we decided to wait. Half an hour later and still no sign of them, Mrs B was now discovering that organising a group of people to be in one place at the same time was more stressful than any BBQ we have ever put together. Especially when everyone was on one ticket and they wouldn’t let us in until everyone was there. A bit of discussion with the staff at the main gate and we established that because we were Zip wiring we were at the wrong entrance anyway (it would be really helpful if it said that on the paperwork).

We relocated to the "Go ape" fast track area which turned out to be not fast track at all, as they decided that despite having all the paperwork, which stated that Mrs B had paid in full, their system could not cope, as it had been booked in three stages as people signed up at different times. Eventually they had to call the supervisor out who brought the company calculator and managed to add the three amounts together. There was only a slight delay as he decided to phone a friend, then ask the audience and finally used his last lifeline and went 50/50. Hugh and Alec were still circling the park but did not seem to be getting any closer to us. Once the supervisor promised to let in our geographically challenged friends and with Mrs B feeling guilty that everyone had been hanging around for over an hour, we decide to push on. I mean what could go wrong? We all had mobile phones after all. 

Hmmm have you ever tried getting a phone signal in Woburn safari park? Communicating would be easier for two blind people using smoke signals in dense fog.  Windows of communication seemed to be restricted to the more remote parts of the lion and tiger enclosures, as long as you were prepared to hang at least 95% of your body out of the window.  I'm sure the big cats deliberately sabotage any phone signals in order to entice the contents of the meals on wheels service out of the tin cans we travel in. It must be most frustrating for them watching all that pre-packaged food roll passed day after day.  Think how much more enjoyable their lives would become if they could get hold of a giant electronic can opener. Not to mention the variety of diet that would potentially become available to them.

Clarence the cross eyed lion : – Hey Leo; do you fancy Greek or Italian tonight…..?

Leo – “You know I think I could murder a Chinese.”
Has anyone seen the can opener, I fancy an Indian tonight....(Don't worry Anj we would have offered them an Italian snack first. Only if they had got through Vinnie would we have pushed you out. Harsh but fair!

Having given up hope of seeing Hugh and Alec we stopped for something to eat. All I can report is that it was reassuringly expensive but then there is an art to creating a sandwich from stale bread, a dried out slice of processed cheese and ham cut so thin that you could feed a whole slice to a bulimic without them feeling the need to purge. This was a fine example of the type of sandwich not seen since the hey days of British Rail catering, even down to managing to replicate the curling up at both ends. If only they had packaged it as an original Classic early 70's inter city special we could have got a fortune for it on Antiques Road show.  If this is any example of the food they are feeding to the animals I'm going to start a collection for that large tin opener........ I was going to say that McG would probably even be prepared to sacrifice some of his food for his larger brethren but anyone who knows the little porker would realise that would be about as likely as Gordon Brown taking responsibility for any of his mistakes. Despite my loathing of the man, I do feel for him a little bit. Following Teflon Tony was never going to be an easy task, especially if you end up being Gordon ‘the man who put the skid marks in the underpants of Britain’s economy’ Brown. I can honestly say I didn’t vote for the incompetent twat and apart from a few dumb Labour MPs, know one else did either. This is apparently the democracy we live in and wish to impose on other countries……

On the food front, fortunately, Mrs B had sorted out the dessert menu so at least it was edible if not nostalgic of puddings from yesteryear. To be honest I don’t think anyone actually got past the British Rail sandwiches, one of the best appetite suppressors known to man (it is no coincidence that the average weight of Britons has increased dramatically since the demise of British Rail and its culinary incompetence). So there is no historical record of any desserts they served. As if by magic the smell of dessert drew Hugh and Alec to us. Just in time to join us for the Zip wiring. Of the twelve of us, four had decided (through fear of heights or bad necks) they would not Go Ape, so the report is of how the remaining eight of us got on….

The Go Ape zip wiring course comprised of six main obstacles, including a couple of Tarzan swings into cargo nets, four zip wires and various obstacles strung between the tree tops.

Vinnie – Early on it was all Italian flair but a spectacular refusal at the “Air Rings of Fear” saw Vinnie take the easy root out and out of contention….

Ash – Considering Ash has a fear of heights or to be more accurate a fear of drops (perhaps he was dropped on his head as a child, which would explain a lot) he did extremely well. Lost marks due to his over-eagerness to hug trees for a little too longer than is considered acceptable in police society.

Anj – Not a bad performance and possibly got scream of the day (just edging out Hugh) on the larger of the Tarzan swings. Did really well to hold it together at the “Rings of fear” as she was the first to reach them after Vinnie ran off down the escape route….

Rory – Used his small and light frame to great effect, skipping around the course like a hamster on speed.

Alec – All teenage cool and ultra competitive with his dad (Hugh). Although not strictly speaking part of the course I’m docking him points for his parking in Woburn High Street.
Alec loses points for interesting parking.
Hugh takes partial credit as he felt passing
cars would cause less damage to the car than
passing prams.....

Hugh – A bit like his skiing, a number of crash landings on the Zip wires which he tried to cover up but never quite managed it. The tell tale bark chippings running up his back always being a giveaway

Mrs B – Very stylish as usual – not sure how she managed to get herself backwards on the Zip wires or more importantly back around the right way for perfect landings

Mr B – Oh dear, I may have got a bit over excited and carried away:-

Darwin attempt 1 – Managed to find myself upside down when attempting to land a big shape on the first Tarzan swing. This is a big no, no and the safety guide almost had kittens when she saw me. I’m still not sure how I managed it but since I did not fall out of the safety harness, no Darwin award.

Darwin attempt 2 – I was halfway across the “Rings of Fear” when I could hear some agitated mutterings from behind me. I noted that my friends waited until I was almost exactly half-way across before informing me that I had not connected my safety equipment properly. So no pressure then, a simple choice of three directions, forward, backwards or fifty feet down. Vinnie blames me for his refusal at the rings as he was the next up, while I feel I just demonstrated that you could do it ineptly and still survive…..

Darwin attempt 3 – The larger of the Tarzan swings – Having cocked up the first one, all be it with my own brand of style and panache, I was determined not to do it again. I was just about to launch myself when one of the safety guides came rushing towards me screaming “Noooooooooo!!!!” This time, while I had managed to connect all the safety wires, I had not connected them in the correct order. He patiently explained that my drop would have been a bit longer than expected and the ground would have had a rude awakening as I crashed into it. I was definitely left with the impression (better me than the ground I guess) that he was more worried about the damage I would have done to the undergrowth …….

For anyone worried about the future of mankind, after reading this and in truth any BlackLOG, there is no need. I took myself out of the gene pool years ago, when I decided not to breed. It’s a shame that a lot more people didn’t make the choice because if over population and starvation doesn’t destroy it, humanity will probably die an even more horrible death, as we slowly succumb to death by chav. Death throuh poor fashion and general Oik beviour is not a good way to go.....

Begrudgingly Rory probably won the Go-Ape of the day award. I question why speed and dexterity should count over lumbering ineptitude. In my defense it must be much more fun watching someone blundering around cluelessly rather than all proficient and correct with no chance of hurting themselves. Let’s face it, the reason so many people watch reality TV is not to see people at their best. If I survive much longer I could probably get my own reality TV show “Survival the BlackLOG way – what not to do but still manage to comeback mostly intact”……..

Friday, 17 July 2009

How to turn a Triathalon into 4 events

Having suffered at the hands of a Welsh mountain last week, Mrs B decided to further prolong my agony and signed us up for a Triathlon (although I seem to have managed to add a fourth element to the event - more on that later). Since the Triathlon is not for a couple of months I thought to myself "No problem - loads of time to get over my rock burns and get my body fit enough to at least survive the ordeal". At this point Mrs B admitted that she had booked us in for a Triathlon training session on the coming Saturday. Great - Break out the banners, big celebration time...... This necessitated some serious pre-training, training to try and ensure that we did not look like complete Muppets.

I can't say that things went all that well. Although I have been doing a fair bit of cycling (sometimes even managing not to crash at high speed) I have not been swimming for almost a year or running since I left school (which wa s rather a long time ago). I was always a short distance sprint specialist - almost unbeatable at any distance under 5 metres but invariably stuffed once I had travelled much further than that. I fear that the intense effort that I put into those 5 metres burnt out my energy. It's probably why I decided to go in goal for my school football team. None of that senseless running around for me. I just stayed at the back and let the shots in. This impressive inability to not save very much soon led to a very public sacking by my team mates. I vowed never to play for the team again, which at the time did not seem to bother them. Their attitude soon changed however. Whilst I would regularly let in 9 or 10 goals a game, and my worst game saw me concede 11, in the weeks after my sacking the team managed to let in 15,16, 21 & 24 goals. Remember this was football, not rugby or cricket. A deputation arrived at my doorstep and the team asked me to play for them again. I pointed out that I had told them I would never play for them again and was sticking to my word. Even at such a tender age I was an obstinate git. To be honest, I don't think it affected things in a major way. After all, once you have let in 6 goals, the next 6 or even 18 don't tend to make that much difference.

As well as me, Mrs B has rounded up another two victims for the Triathlon. Although we have yet to hear from Diane about how she is getting on I can report the following updates from the Kirsty, Mrs B and Mr B training camps:

Kirsty(who seems to be having a range of conflicting emotions over the whole thing - the foremost being regret................)

"I've registered for the Triathlon now and set-up my just giving page, and just registered for the training day on Saturday. All I need to get now is a helmet for the cycling part and a wetsuit. I also need to do a bit of training. Mainly swimming and running.

Help, I'm scared. I have anxiety over the whole thing, I think I had a nightmare about it.- I'm particularly worried about the running bit " (Personally I would have been more worried about the cycling helmet she got. Kirsty's managed to find a helmet with all the aerodynamics of a Maclaren 2009 F1 car and not much lighter......)

"It's all your fault Mr B. Well actually thinking about it, it's Mrs B's fault. Well anyway it's the BLACK's fault".

Instead of body pump I'm going to do swimming now. Yesssssss, I have an excuse not to do body pump any more. That's one thing to thank u and Mrs B for."

Kirsty is that a hat or a nuclear
fall out shelter,for a family of four?

Mrs B - "I went for a "run" last night (well, I call it a run, it was more of a late night stroll round the development, interspersed with something that vaguely resembled a lame two-legged horse trotting..................anyone peering out of their living room window at about 10.45pm last night might have seen a woman in distress. No one came to my aide though................and my quads were shot afterwards!) Help, I'm going to really struggle. I'm a bit embarrassed that the subject line of this email refers to "Athlete info" (Athletes - us?!!)"

Mr B - "I went for a swim, well, to be honest it was more of a float. My body was still smarting from last week's biking and after 20 lengths I dragged myself out and laid, elegantly sprawled, on the side of the pool. At this point a rather vindictive Spanish lady swam up and viciously asked me if I needed any help. I know it was vindictive because I do the same when I see someone crash when they are skiing..... I guess you might call it justice."

I can only imagine what any onlookers might have made of our pitiful efforts.........

Imaginary onlooker - "I watched a deranged woman flopping around the estate with such heavy breathing that small children and family pets were left
traumatized. Police warned me not to approach her. If anyone sees her they should call the police who will send out the tortoise squad to round her up. If you find yourself in her way don't panic. You should have plenty of time to finish reading a reasonably-sized book before having to step out of her way......"

Spanish swimmer - "Hi saw hay badly beaton perrrson dumped in thee pull.
Eat look like he head bin -how you say- left forrr deed. Eat was terrrr ible, he only just managed to crawl hout. Eaf I had a gun I would haff put heem out of his miserrrry.... "

Training day including the appearance of a 4th event for our, now inaccurately, named Triathlon

How to develop the 4th event:-
1. Preparation
Put a bike rack on your car
Lock two bikes to the bike rack - to prevent them being stolen. How silly would you feel if the bikes were stolen so you could not take part in the event?

Now this part is vital to the 4th event - use Mrs B's car keys and not your own - make sure you don't take your car keys with you.

2. Implementation
Drive to the event
Get out of the car
Go to get the bikes of the rack...........

3. Now the 4th event starts
You have to figure how to get the bikes off the bike rack when you have left the only key to the bike lock (that loops elegantly around both bikes and the bike rack) on your car key ring, which is over an hour's drive away back at home......Doh!

Event 4 of 3 Mrs B and Kirsty fail to extract
the bikes from the back of the car

You can imagine how delighted the girls were, especially as my bike had gone inside the car and so was still accessible. So that was one bike between three and one wet suit between three - Since Mrs B and I were in a separate training group from Kirsty, Kirsty could at least use my bike.

Swimming training :-
Mrs B and Kirsty at least had the use of a wetsuit. I, on the other hand, had the joys of dipping into a freezing lake with just a skimpy pair of trunks to protect me from the cold. Mrs B pointed out that they are so old that they were wearing rather thin at the back - further reducing any thermal properties. I was not the only one without a wetsuit in our group and it was rather noticeably the two others who slowed considerably as the training session went on. At the end, when a mini race was organised, two of the semi-naked individuals and Mrs B trailed in last. The third one, not me, got so cold he dropped out. Pheww! Mrs B did not finish last.

Running training:-
Lots of nice, short training exercises which we could both manage. I had spotted a rather rotund individual (we'll call him Fat Boy Slim) in our group who was struggling with the warm up, so again thought we would not finish last.

After the warm-up came the training run which involved:-
4 minute fast run
2 minute recovery
3 minute fast run
3 minute recovery
2 minute fast run
4 minute recovery
30 seconds sprint
30 seconds recovery
30 seconds sprint
30 seconds recovery

Off we set - Mrs B at the back, me mid-pack and Fat Boy Slim setting a relentless pace at the front.

"Ha!" thought I. "What a fool - he'll never make it at that pace."

By the time we got to the 2 minute run Mrs B and I were both walking - possibly swaying from side to side and there might even have been some crawling. I had managed to open a half lap gap on Mrs B and concentrated on maintaining that.

Fat Boy Slim was still pounding away and lapping us both frequently, along with the rest of them. I now believe we were in a group of ringers, all of them being experienced runners or triathletes. Fortunately one of the girls in the group hurt her leg and so dropped out. Much relief all round - we were not going to finish last!

As we went around the track, the instructor would breeze up to each person and give encouragement and a few minutes of running tips. When he got to me all he managed to say was "I like your running style. I'm sure the rest will come!" I think I heard him snigger as he sprinted off. As for his advice to Mrs B, I'm not sure he actually managed to speak to her because her blistering pace made her look like a spectator and so he kept missing her......

Cycling training:-
Obviously, it could have gone better. Mrs B was sidelined through failure to accomplish my cunningly introduced 4th element in the Triathlon .i.e get her bike off the back of the car. This left me to pick up a few tips on cycling. The most useful pointer being that my expensive mountain bike was absolutely rubbish for Triathlon.....One major problem is that it has very low-set pedals so if you try and pedal while cornering you grind the pedal into the track with the result that the bike attempts to buck you off. While this is certainly entertaining for anyone watching, it does not fill the bike rider with confidence or speed. I'm putting my poor riding performance down to the after-effects of hypothermia and the appalling injuries suffered last week..... I at least got some revenge over Fat Boy Slim whose bike seemed to take on a strange shape once he got on board. The combination of his large size and his strangely-shaped bike even managed to make Kirsty's cycling helmet look positively sleek in comparison...

Transition training:-
We were told that this was the area where valuable seconds could cost you the race..... Personally I think an inability to swim, run and cycle quickly is where I am going to lose it. I could do the fastest transition in recorded history, but I am still never going to scare the leader board. I did work out a strategy to slow Mrs B and Kirsty down though. For Mrs B, all I have to do is set up a little table with a mirror and some hair styling products next to her bike station. Once out of the water she will take at least 25 mins to get past this obstacle. As for Kirsty I noticed that she got a bit upset when my trainers and bike shoes were not set out neatly at my transition station. All I have to do is make sure all the stations around Kirsty are a bit messy. She will either recoil in horror, unable to pass them, or spend half an hour organising them all. (OCD? I think so.) Now all I have to do is work out the weak point of the other 997 competitors and the race is mine, mine I tell you..... queue dramatic manic style laughter to fade "Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, cough, cough, weeze, weeze, splutter.....

The transition training did help us with one thing however...............On returning from the training Mrs B and I had only an hour to get washed, dressed and out of the house as we were heading into London to see Lily Allen perform at Somerset House. By laying out Mrs B's clothes and make up I managed to shave valuable hours off her personal best and got her out of the house in a world record time........

For the record, Lily was on good form, except for her excessive smoking on stage which kept setting off the sprinkler system.
Lily It's not smart it's not clever
- I'm really not looking forward to
your song about fighting lung cancer....

Sorry, I've just been corrected. It was not the sprinkler system - it turns out that we were outdoors and so it was, in fact, rain. Shed loads of it......A big thank you to Mark and Lisa for getting us free tickets to a sold out concert. All you need do next time is disable the outdoor sprinkler system and it will be perfect.

By Sunday morning Mrs B and I were completely wrecked but as it was my Birthday, instead of sleeping and relaxing, Mrs B had planned a full day of entertainment for us. So once again, it was up early and off to Woburn Safari Park for a bit of a Safari and then four hours of relaxation zip wiring in the trees. I'm sure you have already suffered enough for one BlackLOG so you can wait till next time to hear how that went.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

BlackLOG on the rocks with a dash of Welsh mountain water

I discovered a number of things this weekend :-

- Not all Tomtom car navigation systems are the same.

- The hare and the tortoise - we discover the truth behind the story, not once but twice (yes Teach I came close to writing hair, I was almost tempted to put it in anyway).

- Tennis players are selfish uncaring bastards.

It was off to North Wales at the weekend for White-water rafting and cycling down mountains (also up, which I was not so keen on). As there were six of us we needed to take two cars - Craig drove his huge, tank-like Mercedes estate - which could have taken all six of us but there would have been no room for my luggage, yet alone anyone else's. The Black household continues with its "pack everything but the kitchen sink" policy. Even my new camera travels with more accessories than your average shoplifter in Accessorize. In fact, the only person with more luggage was Vinnie who was in possession of a Chav style jumbo suitcase on wheels(although since Vinnie is Italian I’m pretty sure he can't technically be described as a Chav….. It's all that natural born style developed from years of running away to live to run away another day). I think he might have had more hair stuff than Mrs B, Mala & Shilpa combined, which probably explains why he normally looks so good in photos.

Our 2 car convoy managed to separate itself less than 20 metres into our trip - Craig opting to take the main route out of Bishops Stortford while I took the back roads. (I'm not mentioning any road names in case IMO is hovering, waiting to pounce and tell me there is a much quicker route than the one I took). We hit the M11 a good 10 minutes before the tank and headed north. A little while later Craig shot by like a bat out of hell. We decided not to keep pace. While ElleGee (our BMW) has no problems speeding - anything much over 80mph gets uncomfortable with the roof down and he eats fuel at high speed. It would be nice to make it out of Cambridgeshire before having to refill.

We somehow managed to meet up at a welcome break just the other side of Birmingham. After that they shot off again so we estimated we would probably end up arriving about half an hour later than team tank. Poor Vinnie had made the mistake of swapping cars at the stop and had forgotten my "If it's dry and above freezing, the roof's down" policy. He looked a sight wrapped in a pink tartan blanket trying to protect his hair (Did I mention he is Italian?) He was so relieved when it started to rain and the roof had to go back up.

About 5 mins from Bala, our destination for the weekend, we got a phone call. The passengers in the tank were getting hungry and so were going to stop at the next town for a sandwich. Did we want to meet up again? I told them it was hardly worth it as we were only 5 mins from the hotel. There was silence at the other end of the line..... " How did you get there? We are still over half an hour away!". While our good old Tom Tom had taken us directly across the Welsh moors - even sticking to proper roads and no farm tracks this time - Mala's Satnav (incidentally also a Tom Tom - how does that work? They were both set for shortest journey time) had taken them on an impromptu tour of North Wales. Not that I’m being competitive or that it was a race or anything but........... One Nil to Team Black (Hare and Tortoise). We are the champions, Losers Losers etc etc.
Is that the legendary hairy tortoise -
No it's Vinnie after a trip in
the back of ElleGee

Our first booked event for the weekend was White-water rafting. Great fun but extremely tiring. After 4 runs most of us were done in while Mala was asking for a fifth run. Now, let's work this one through. How did Mala stay so fresh? Was it perhaps because for the first run she jettisoned her paddle within about 10 metres of the start? "Hay-ulp! Haayy-ulp! I seemed to have dropped my paddle! I'll just have to be a passenger for the first run" Said in a Penelope Pitstop type voice . I think for the second run Mala was so used to not having to do any work that the effort was about 50%. So with Mala only participating in 2.5 of the 4 runs it was no wonder she was fresh and ready for more. Looking at the photos I’m just surprised that Shilpa was not fresher. Hardly a shot appears showing Shilpa using her paddle……
More proof that not everyone on
our boat was pulling their weight.
Mala, Shilpa the paddles are meant
to go into the water

Craig looks like he is about
to suffer a fatal blowout. Yes we
can see you Shilpa, an interesting
paddle grip

They call this Fun!!!!!

For the Sunday we had booked mountain biking. Talk about easing us in, it was straight onto the red course which involved going down slippery stones and rocky jumps. Mrs B was the first to fall vanishing into some bushes before we had even made the first bend. Shilpa soon followed but while Mrs B recovered her composure Shilpa adopted a "three metres distance before sliding off her bike" approach to riding. I think she managed, under instruction from our guide, to extend this to around 10 metres. For the second time in just over a week I found myself being overtaken by Mrs B on a bike. Last time it was due to a bent gear derailer. Thankfully, to spare my blushes, it turned out that I had a rear tyre puncture this time. How could I not tell? I hear you ask. (Don’t worry I’ve got good hearing and may have accidentally bugged your PC) Well it was on a hire bike that I was not used to and the slope was somewhat extreme. I think it was as big a shock to Mrs B as she went past (Hare and Tortoise No.2). Quite frankly I’m running out of reasonable excuses.

The course was challenging and I was struggling due to a tendency to slow down too much for the tricky bits. The slower you go on a bike the more unstable you become and although I managed to avoid any actual falling off I had a number of "moments" through over-zealous braking. This turned out to be the seeds of my destruction. I then decided that braking was for wimps as all that slowing down was making me unstable (on the bike!). The slope that I chose for my non-braking experiment seemed to go on for ever, and what started out as a few stones and bushes scattered liberally about soon turned into huge rocks and large trees flashing past. Everything was going well and as long as I didn't think about what I was doing and left it all to instinct I was fine. Then a little voice started in my head:

Inner voice - Wow this is fun....

Me - Yes it is

Inner voice - Do you think you can really do this?

Me - Yes!

Inner voice - What happens if you crash?....

So not exactly Jedi use the force young BlackLOG but more supportive like my English teacher -"I'll eat my hat if you pass your O'level" I just hope he choked on it.....

Me - Shut up , Aaaarrrggghhhh...........!!!

At that point it all went into slow motion as I found myself flying through the air.

I think I made it about 5 metres before gravity and a local rock decided I was not playing by the rules. The bike made it a further 5 metres, bloody show off....

Welsh Mountain - Thud!

Inner voice - That's gonna hurt - I'm out of here

Fortunately my left thigh, both forearms and head took most of the impact. As I lay there hugging the rock I was thinking "I'm glad it's not my bike and helmet....and thank god I went to the toilet just before I crashed. Saved me from writing off my cycling shorts from the inside."

It took them a while to peel me off the rock and considering how bad the crash was, I got away fairly lightly. A couple of bumps and cuts on my head, a dead leg in my left thigh and lots of bruises all over my body, including a rather large one to my now shattered Ego, but no breakages or lasting damage. I limped for a bit but decided that if I didn't get on the bike it would be much harder next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time but I will be wearing full body armour and evicting my inner voice before I set off.....
Yes that's my bike in the centre with the
front wheel at an odd angle

I checked my bike GPS gadget afterwards and decided it must be suffering from concussion. It claimed that I had been doing over 60mph at one point on the course. I don't think so, because that would have been just before my unscheduled flying lesson and I doubt that I would be around to type this if I had been going at that speed.....
Satmap - I can't believe I was doing
67 MPH when I crashed, so suspect it
is suffering from severe concussion

On the way home we had been told to stop off at a rather picturesque spot. It was at this point we discovered that we had lost our compact camera. The last time we had seen it was at the mountain bike Centre. As it was only half an hour away Mrs B and I decided that we might as well go back. The Tank decided to plough on.

Mrs B went into the Centre to see if it had been handed in, while I limped around the car park, just in case. Glad I did, as there was the camera nestled into the bushes, close to where we had been parked. As we were now at least an hour behind the tank we decided we had no chance of catching them so we decided to stop off for a pub meal. We were listening to the Roddick - Federer fifth set on the radio - I think it was about 4 games all - and were a bit loathed to miss the end but hunger was getting the better of us. The pub we stopped at was not serving food till 6pm and as that was only 20 mins away we told the barmaid that we would go back and listen to the tennis for 20 minutes. OK she said. At six we piled back into the pub (One question can two people pile into anything?) and were shown to the table which was in a room with a huge great big Plasma screen showing the tennis. Thanks. Did the barmaid really think we wanted to sit in the car listening to a crackling reception (we were still in Wales) rather than sitting watching it on a huge TV with drinks in hand? Oh well, at least we weren't going to miss the end of the match.

The food arrived, it was cleared away and time marched on. The complete Bastards. It's all very well showing off your supreme tennis prowess game after game, but we still had over a three hour drive home. To quote the great John McEnroe "You cannot be serious!" What sort of a tennis score is 16-14, didn't they have anything better to do?......Since the tank had pushed on and they had decided to listen to the tennis on the radio, we figured they would be practically home by the time we set off once more. Not a bit of it, I think they got home only about an hour before us, after a rather interesting tour of the lesser known parts of the Midlands. Damn Tennis players we would have probably beaten them home if they hadn't have been so selfish... Mala, I think you might need to get a better satellite navigation system.

Quotes of the weekend

Shilpa - "I can't get on with the Welsh language it's like they are trying to spit at me all the time."

Just to prove the service industry is alive and kicking in Wales:

Shilpa -"Can I have a glass of Water?"

Useless Welsh waitress - "Tap?"

Shilpa -"OK, can I have ice and lemon with it?"

Useless Welsh waitress - "No, you should have ordered the bottled water if you wanted ice & lemon" as she stormed off to get the rest of our order wrong.

So Welsh dragons do exist......

This was the same waitress who had hit me with her order pad a few minutes earlier, almost completely unprovoked..............

I had been having difficulty taking the food order over the phone for the tank party (they were still 15 minutes away and we needed to eat and get going for our White-water rafting time slot) while Vinnie and Mrs B were sorting out what they wanted. I was trying to make my order as well as the Tank crews. Whenever I asked the waitress for something, Mrs B would pipe up "No I don't want that!" and I would explain it was for the Tank party. It got even more complicated as Craig ordered two rounds of sandwiches for himself.

Mrs B - "You've ordered too much!"

Me - "No, Craig wants two rounds."

Me - raising my eyes to the sky "Bloody Women."

Useless Welsh waitress - "Have you ever been thrown out of a cafe before, boyo?"

Me - "It's OK, I don't count you as a woman."

Useless Welsh waitress - Thwack

I forget sometimes that not everyone has a sense of humour - especially the Welsh......

It's been a few days since we got back and I can report everyone is either sporting huge bruises or in the case of one particular Italian, badly messed up hair. Despite the pain it was a great weekend and thanks to Craig and Mala for putting it together. Let' s do it again soon, only without the free flight next time.

Not sure what craig and I are doing
but I think that Vinnie might be
doing his Popeye impression!!!

As this weeks BlackLOG is already over long I've held back the continuing story of our 2006 London to Brighton preparation.

The interactive bit - The answers to Mondays film and TV programs quiz

No.1 - Mrs B, Mala and Shilpa doing their impression of - Charlies Angels

No.2 - Craig acting out the opening of The fall and rise
of Reginald Perrin
- as I said before I'm just grateful
that he did it clothed

No.3 - Vinnie doing an impression of Jaws

No.4 - Shilpa is doing Scream

No.5 - Me looking hotter than usual in the Invisible man

Monday, 6 July 2009

White Water rafting pictures & film test

As we have spent a fun packed, if painful, weekend in Wales, I've not had time to put this weeks blog together, so to keep you entertained I have loaded some of the photo's. The plan is to get the proper BlackLOG out by Wednesday.

Whitewater rafting - pictures
Thanks to The Whitewater center in Bala for providing the Photo's of our various river runs. My arms were simply not long enough to get these great out of boat shots

Just look at that effort

Bloody Sat Nav, I'm not sure this is the M5 you know?

Mrs B and Craig on the naughty step

That will teach Craig and Mrs B not to put
in enough effort into rowing

Witch Trials No.1
- The dunking stall -
Everyone knows that Witches float

Witch Trials No.2
- Look they float -
Burn the Witches

An interactive bit - can you name the film or TV programs

If you are struggling - Answers Wednesday

No.1 - What show are Mrs B, Mala and Shilpa doing an impression of

No.2 - Which Famous TV Show is Craig acting out
I will ever be grateful that he did it clothed

No.3 - What film is Vinnie doing an impression of

No.4 - What film is Shilpa representing

No.5 - What film am I representing
- I hope you agree I'm looking hot