I picked up my new bike the other day. I had purchased it under the "cycle to work" scheme (it saves around 45% on the cost of a bike and you get to pay for it over 12 months - almost worth getting splattered across the road for). The bike scheme has a few basic rules, such as the bike :-
- Must not cost more than a set limit
- Must be suitable for cycling to (and I guess from) work
Now, call me picky but in my book for a bike to be suitable for cycling to work it should have pedals. Not the model I selected it seemed. Oh no - apparently this is a "special" bike. It's not like they warned me that it didn't come with pedals. Fortunately, as I had already spent up to the scheme's limit, the shop kindly counted the pedals as optional extras and so allowed me to buy some. Isn't that a bit like purchasing a house and finding out that the doors and windows are not included but if you feel you really need them you can add them as optional extras? (I guess if you live in a crime free, warm environment, doors and windows could be considered to be an unnecessary luxury. If anyone actually lives in such a place please let me know, it sounds like a great place to start a crime wave. I don't see why you should have to miss out on all the fun and excitement of being burgled)
My first bike ride (other than the cycle from the shop back to work - you have to show willing.) was less than event free. A big thanks to the Astra car driver who almost knocked me off the bike as he cut back in a bit too close to me. I had covered less than a kilometre at this point. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and put it down to him misjudging my tremendous turn of pace. I also managed to break one of the cleats in my cycling shoes. Again I would like to think this was due to the incredible power I was generating through my optional extra pedals but the reality is the shoes are getting on a bit and the cleat just wore out...
More fireplace fun - Yes Skipper, you were right - this is going to run and run.
In the best traditions of the Black household we decided to have a launch evening for our new TV and the revamped living room. Five minutes before everyone arrived (well, those who were fashionably on time anyway) I decided it was probably cold enough to have a fire in our newly installed stove. I had lit it the previous week and it worked perfectly so imagine my delight when the room filled up with smoke. After taking almost 2 months to fit the damn thing they had not secured a plate properly in the flue which had fallen down and blocked the chimney. You have got to hand it to our fire installers - from a blogging point of view they have been like gold dust.
I went on an "Engaging people" course at work - it could have gone better..............
One of the exercises on the course was to sit opposite someone, study them for a minute, and work out:-
What were the facts about the person
What you could you assume; and
What could you make up about the person.
As I studied the woman in front of me I went all Sherlock Holmes and proudly worked out:
- She was not married or engaged - no rings;
- She had a cold - the snot rag tucked into her sleeve was the giveaway; (Boy, I was on fire!)
- and She was a bit shy - I based this on the fact that she spent the entire exercise looking everywhere around the room but at me.
Not quite so good on the third though as, at the end of the minute, she happily talked to the class about the exercise. I guess it was not a case of her being shy but that she evidently found me repulsive. A little harsh I feel - I might not be George Clooney but I'm certainly not the Elephant man...........
As she prattled on dryly about facts and assumptions that she made about me (what would she know? She never even looked at me) she made the mistake of saying fantasy instead of fiction and I'm afraid I took the opportunity to jump in with:
"Enough of that, young lady. Would you mind mentally putting my clothes back on?"
It did not help that the room erupted into laughter. Any chance of engaging with her after that was lost. Ooops - still, it got a good laugh.
It got worse though - at lunchtime I ran into someone I have known for years.
Me - Hi, how are you?
Person I knew - no reaction whatsoever - nothing, nada, apart from practically walking through me.
Me - Wow, next time I'll throw myself in front of them.
Fellow attendee on the course - I wouldn't bother, she would have just stepped over you.....
Perhaps that was a bit of cosmic karma getting me back for being mean to non-engage girl .........
what I can't work out is, did the course make me worse at
Some photos to finish you off with
The first is McG and Mischief - it's not a great picture but all I could get to record the moment. They have never been that close and would rather spend their time winding each other up. I happened to walk into the kitchen and caught them curled up together. I grabbed the camera and clicked. Within a nano-second they were as far apart from each other as the room would allow. It reminded me of the scene in "Trains, Planes and Automobiles", where John Candy (McG) and Steve Martin (Mischief)...share a bed.
[waking up after sharing the same beanbag in the kitchen]
Mischief :- "McG... Why did you kiss my ear?"
McG:- "Why are you holding my paw?"
Mischief :- frowns- "Where's your other paw?"
McG :- "Between two pillows..."
Mischief :- "Those aren't pillows!"
Click - I capure the moment.....
For those of you who have not seen the film or who have blocked it from your memory. For the record no McG was not in the opening shot.....
Sorry....I'm going to have to take a shower now...
Neither cat is currently talking to me, I compounded my sin of catching them snuggled up together by taking them on a trip to the vets for their annual check-up and inoculations..... Fortunately, like goldfish and Mrs B when she has done something wrong*, they have fairly short memories.
* I think this might be because Mrs B's storage capacity is full of all my misdemeanours ... from the day we first met.....and I thought it was men that had selective memories ....
**Actually with the 45-200 lens attached the FD1 looks a bit like a flea with an elephant's erection.....I'll post pictures in a future blog but, for now, I'll leave you with your own mental picture.
So that's both cats and the Beast not talking to me at the moment and possibly Mrs B, for the remark about the selective memory...It's probably gonna be a quiet few days for me....Why, oh why did I agree to go on that Engaging People course..
On Friday I'm taking the photo's at Mrs B's sister wedding....Wish me luck and fingers crossed that the predicted snow storm (nothing like what the East coast of America has been enjoying) does not materialise and that JL (the bride) is still talking to me afterwards...