perlmonger: (cycling)
shoppingFirst bike ride of non-trivial length for months yesterday, and my legs (and crotch) are feeling it. Better than last night, when various leg muscles were cramping, twitching and giving way under me in quite an alarming fashion.

The idea was to do a bit of shopping, but being as the first port of call was the Sweet Mart, I decided to carry on up NCN4 to Warmley. 11.8 miles, 741' up and 712' down. Straight back down to Easton for lentils and some veg, then to the Eastville Centre for a dozen overpriced little tins of catfud for the convalescing Aliss (who is doing much better, thank you, but might decide to have a relapse if the Special Fud stops being served). Then to Sevier Street and the wholefood shop for Greens cheddar, barley flour and dishwasher tabs; Gloucester Road for a wine kit; home via the closed-to-cars Clifton bridge and Ashton Court. 14.6 miles, 1007' up and 1043' down. Which means (if Bikely and Google are to be believed), I ended up seven feet lower than when I started. In a box, possibly, and I'm hallucinating this post.

Anyhow. I am clearly not as fit as I have been (even taking into account the weight of the shopping coming back); unsurprising, considering how sedentary I've been of late.


Sep. 15th, 2008 02:52 pm
perlmonger: (anarchism)
What's the effective impedance of a week? Can you split it with a t-piece?

Saturday morning, we went to CostCo, to swap out the faulty 20kg bag of basmati that I'd discovered a couple of days before when emptying it into its storage box - blueish green lumps of compacted mouldy rice isn't something I wanted to eat. They were happy to refund, once they'd found the original transaction in their database though, as [ profile] ramtops found, they are a lot less efficient at crediting refunds than debiting for purchases (they had both beurre d'Isigny and kabanos, which were out of stock last time we went, and we bought a fair wodge of other stuff too as well as replacing the rice).

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Jeremy ScahillThat's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, Bernstein SycamoreIn the afternoon I went veg shopping on my bike, to the Sweet Mart as we needed coriander and that's as good a place as any to be guaranteed lots of good, fresh green stuff. I bought a 5 litre can of Spanish EV olive oil and sundry other bits as well; that left my pack pretty much full up. Cycling back toward St Werberghs, I was reminded of the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair that I had managed to forget all about (there was a particularly fine red and black banner on the cycle bridge across the M32). So, to the community centre, which was pretty much invisible under its encrustation of overlapped and interlocking bicycles. I added mine to the only clear bit of railing I could find (thought I might have to lock it to the centre's eyeball for a bit) and joined the throng inside. And outside. Lots of folks, and a lovely positive friendly atmosphere, but (and probably just as well) my already loaded backpack could only accommodate a couple of books - Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, by Jeremy Scahill and That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, by Bernstein Sycamore.

Thence to the wholefood shop for muesli which, bizarrely, they had run out of in the combination: loose innatub, worth eating. So, on to Wild Oats up the top end of Whiteladies Road and I was feeling that oil+books by the time I got up there, and even more so on the (thankfully mostly flat or downhill) way home. FWIW, the pack weighed 30lb (slightly less if our scales weighed right; slightly more if they're still 4lb under as they used to be when I used to compare them with the gym).

Later, there was fine food and too much alcohol+chocolate raisins, but I managed to start the process of baking a loaf - starter dough left overnight. Sunday, I finished the loaf and we watched huge quantities of B5 (interspersed with cutting the it's-mostly-green-so-I-might-as-well-call-it-a-lawn): from about half way though S3, we finally bugged out 2 eps into S4, though the temptation to continue was only barely resisted.

But now it's Monday, way after lunch, and I suppose I'd best get back to coding…


Jul. 28th, 2008 11:08 am
perlmonger: (pete)
…and in BristolToo hot.

I cycled off to the shops first thing Saturday, before the weather went from Too Hot to Batshit Crazy Hot: to Whiteladies Road for a lens cap and skylight filter for the Nikkor 50mm; not to the bike shop in Cotham (it hadn't opened yet); Gloucester Road for ankle straps and a quick steering bearing adjust from the poncey bike shop, sausage from the Polish grocer, and a two-for-one pair of fly zappers from Maplin. Thence to St Marks Road past Montpelier Station, where I took the crappy photo adjoining (now immortalised on the Bristol Traffic blog) after having to circle on the pavement around the three cars blocking the end of the road, more sausage from another Polish grocer, and squit, coriander, chilis and a jar of cornichon from the Sweet Mart. Finally, back home via St Werberghs (cheddar, apples, bananas and mushrooms) and the Centre, Anchor Road and the Floating Harbour.

Up to 25° as I got back to the village. [ profile] ramtops and I decided that now was the time to divest the pnod of its infestation of underwater Leylandii in the form of reeds and a lily that between them rendered it impossible to see the fish, and barely even feed them. I should've taken photos: the whole lot came out as a single, huge and heavy lump that had covered pretty much all of the ledge in the pnod - maybe 3 or 4 foot round a curve and a good 18" across. Sawing the fucker up for disposal took the rest of the afternoon: that was wood in them there roots, and the four housebricks buried inside the mass demanded a degree of care in the sawing. I split most of it, but extracting the plastic pots that the two plants originally emerged from had to wait.

We discovered that one of the new zappers was dead. Checked the unit to be sure: 630VDC on the grid; 240VAC on the socket; nada from the UV bulb. Maplin said they'd replace just the bulb if I took it in, which seemed fair.

Sunday, after Mac's nasty but, thankfully, consequentially constrained fall on the grass bank by the pnod (she's written about it elsewhere), and aching somewhat from the previous day's exertions, I finished the splitting and greenbagging of the triffids. The pots were cut free, but there was no way that either would ever be separated from the solid mass of root it contained, so they went in the car as was. The idea was that the whole lot could go to the tiprecycling centre, along with our current load of plastic bottles and sundry other crap; this we did after swapping the UV bulb (they had to extract one from another unit; I'd assumed they had bulbs in stock when they said they'd swap it ;) and buying a tenpack of solar powered LED garden lights at Maplin, and getting the key that Mac had cut on Saturday filed down so it might actually work at Sainsbury.

We went on to Cleeve, to buy a few aquatics to fill some of the new space around the pnod (and perchance to keep the Tribe off the fish and frogs; well, we can hope); we got a couple of garden plants and tomato feed while we were at it. The afternoon saw [ profile] ramtops and me mostly gardening, front and back. This is all getting horribly traditional middle-aged weekend occupation, but it's probably best if I don't think about that too much. Still, everything looks much better now post weeding and planting, and the day was ended wonderfully by a sharp rainstorm just after full dark. We sat for a while on the patio under the awning with last drinks listening to it fall and looking at the lights scattered around the garden, before finally going to bed.

A good weekend, on balance.


Jun. 17th, 2008 01:52 pm
perlmonger: (cycling)
Renovo Hardwood Bicycle

I'm not normally seduced by SHINY! but beautifully crafted hardwood bike frames are beyond my terminal squee! threshold. Renovo wooden bicycles have to be the most beautiful things I have seen in $LONG_TIME and (leaving aside trivia like not being able to afford one) I want one that meets the principles in the article on economic relocalisation from On the Commons that I found them in; one made to their pattern in the UK from English oak. The pony would be nice too, but I haven't anywhere to stable it.

More photos from BikePortland, who have a review online.
perlmonger: (cycling)
I took my bike trailer out for its first proper run yesterday, to North Street[¹] and Sainsbury[²]. A smidgeon over 7 miles. My tentative methodology - buy small stuff first and put in backpack that I can wear between shops and take into Sainsbury - worked well; the only (and anticipated) hassle was parking the bike/trailer combo: it's long. A lamp post on North Street did me well, but the bike racks at Sainsbury were too close to the wall really, with only two positions I could have used at all and the front of the bike sticking out slightly anti-socially even in one of those. Manoeuvring backwards takes some getting used to too: the tow bar has very little sideways angular freedom, so it's actually more difficult than backing a trailer on a 4-wheeler.

Coming home, I certainly noticed the extra weight both up and down hill - it would be very easy to run out of brakes if careless in descent, so I'll make sure I don't do that :)

In the afternoon, I set off again (sans trailer) to CostCo[³] in Avonmouth, via the Avon Gorge leg of NCN41. 10.2 miles each way, and I was feeling it when I got to the climb up from Bower Ashton to the Ashton Court car park on the way home. The nicest part, though, was that just as I started climbing the Avonmouth bridge on my return into a brisk and cold head wind, the sky started drizzling on me. And I was too hot in the morning: we get weather more than climate in this country.

[¹] thin and round rye crispbread, 2xconc. apple and blackcurrant juice, breadflour, dishwasher tabs, smoked paprika, pumpkin seeds, G&B almond choccie from the Southville deli; ginger root from the greengrocer

[²] plain and spinach lasagne, 2x24 bogrolls, sliced ham and beef, milk, soured cream, marmalade, binliners, jaffa cakes, plain chocolate Bahlsens

[³] 2 packs of kabanos, 2 packs of bagels, a pack of part-baked demibaguettes, 2 packs of butter, a wheel of brie


Jun. 6th, 2008 09:20 pm
perlmonger: (uncle)
TrailingThe bike trailer that [ profile] ramtops found and ordered for me on eBay (from this retailer) arrived this afternoon from Germany. A small w00t! at least is in order; I've been wanting such a device for quite some time, and it means that pretty much all of our shopping from now can be done without firing up the car. The thing even has a waterproof cover so, within reason, weather can be disregarded.

It weighs 7½kg, and you hardly know it's there when pulling it (empty at least; the load limit is 40kg :) though it's a bit of a pig getting through bollard chicanes. I took it for a test run along the village cycle path and up Glebe Road, which is enough of a hill to judge how much work the thing is going to be in practice: I dropped a gear (middle 2nd AOT middle 3rd) getting to the junction at the top, but it really isn't nearly a gear's worth of extra effort.

It's really well thought out: it folds flat when it's not in use and is remarkably simple to set up and collapse. You pull it along with an articulated tow bar that mates with bracket that sits neatly inboard of the back wheel quick release, held on with a pin and circlip (and emergency strap). My only minor quibbles (apart, of course, from the beast being utterly insecure: order of shopping is going to have to be taken into account) are that the knobs holding the crossmember in place are irritatingly overendowed with thread and there's no strap or other mechanism to hold the folded trailer closed, or its detached wheels to the rest of the machine. Oh, and there's nothing to hold cargo in place, but a suitably sized bungy spider will fix that.

Turns out, of course, that we don't actually need anything bulky from the shops this weekend, but its time will come soon enough…

perlmonger: (uncle)
I've not posted anything for a while - not even about last weekend's rather fine Eurovision-fest with [ profile] agc, [ profile] purple_peril, Pat'n'Dave WANOLJ joining [ profile] ramtops and me - so here's a completely pointless post to prove to anyone reading that I'm still in some sense alive.

Today, [ profile] ramtops and I went to the garden centre in Cleeve, for hanging basket plants and basket liners, and some herbs. They had sold out of 16" liners, which we need for the largest basket that's going to be filled with strawberry plants, normal and (Blessed Be!) metsämansikat, we bought along with a whole raft of other herbiage from D the LibDem. So, we stopped at the Brockley farm shop on the off chance they had some (they didn't) and walked out with a punnet of strawberries, a tub of cream (we already have chocolate cake; these will be combined later tonight :), a small loaf of bread-with-roasted-peppers, some sossidges and a pack of locally sourced pig bits which we're going to consume tonight.

We stopped to drop some of Mac's surplus shoes (yes, you read that right) at the village charity shop and discovered a small but perfectly formed crisis as we got back into the car: it turns out that Mr Rodda is less than conscientious about the fastening of his tubs of cream (bad bear!) and about a third of the tub had redistributed itself in the bag, on the floor of the car and on Mac. Thankfully, home was only a few hundred yards away, and cleansing wasn't too traumatic.

The bread, which was exceeding good, was consumed for lunch, with apples and cheese.

This afternoon, I cycled home » Ashton Court » chocolate path » centre » Slavers Quarter (where I sent water filters for recycling at Dyers in the Galleries) » Easton » St Pauls » St Werberghs (refilled washing up liquid bottle, buy more Greens cheddar, porridge and dishwasher tabs) » Ashley Hill » Montpelier » Gloucester Road (apple and blackcurrant juice, round rye crispbread (but no thin rye crispbread, and neither did the scoopshop up the hill)) » Redland » Cotham (yay! thin rye crispbread, and some green tea) » Clifton » Leigh Woods » Ashton Court » home. Weather: hot and humid; your correspondent: likewise.

Minor mishap on the cycle path through the village: I had to stop quite suddenly to avoid ploughing into two people just round a blind right angle bend; I stopped, went to put my feet down, and found that I hadn't stopped and in fact continued gracefully sideways with my bike onto the path. All most undignified (and down to not taking enough account of a raised centre of gravity caused by my fully loaded backpack), but no real damage to me, bike, shopping or (concerned!) pedestrians.

Tonight: food, wine, Dr Who and likely more West Wing (we've finally got a couple of DVDs into S4).
Tomorrow: gardening, lots of.


May. 9th, 2008 09:54 pm
perlmonger: (cycling)
"He stole a bicycle!"

Well, I said I needed a cycling icon.


May. 7th, 2008 07:09 pm
perlmonger: (pete)
I need a cycling icon.

I've just ridden from home to Winford via Wild Country Lane, Hobbs Lane and Barrow Lane. The sign said "Dundry 1½ miles"; how hard could it be? Dundry Lane was ok, but that last stretch of Winford Lane to the top of the ridge was fucking hard work.

I'm a lot fitter than I used to be, but I've a way to go yet before I'm truly comfortable with gravity defiance.

Still, Dundry Lane, the Bridgwater Road, Barrow Street, Hern Lane and Wild Country Lane was pretty much all downhill on the way back. Time to sort out tonight's dinner now, and finish updating our backup server's Ubuntu (having isolated the fscked memory stick that was upsetting it earlier today).

ETA route.
perlmonger: (pete)
I've spent this afternoon going to most of the wholefood shops in Bristol, in search of a bottle of decent concentrated apple and blackcurrant juice.

Long Ashton -» Ashton Court -» Leigh Woods -» Clifton

Fresh and Wild: Crazy Jack 6% homœpathic only
Wild Oats: Crazy Jack only
Cotham: Suma 10% (purchase one; I also picked up dishwasher tabs and rinse aid)

Cotham -» Gloucester Road

Shop 1: Crazy Jack and… Meridian 12%! (purchase one, and a jar of tahini)
Shop 2: bugger all
Shop 3: Crazy Jack and Meridian 12%

Gloucester Road -» Montpelier

Farm shop: bugger all
Grocery on the corner: bugger all
Italian Grocer: bugger all (though they had both A&B and Blackcurrant at decent concentration, but sweetened: why?)

Montpelier -» St Pauls -» St Werburghs

St Werburghs: Crazy Jack only (but I bought a hunk of Green's unpasteurised, organic, Somerset cheddar)

St Werburghs -» Easton

Sweet Mart: Crazy Jack only (but I bought some coriander and two tubes of squit)

Easton -» railway path -» Temple Quay -» Redcliffe -» Cumberland Road -» Southville -» Bower Ashton -» Ashton Court -» Long Ashton

and home, and an apple, and a pot of TEA.

And no sign whatsoever of the Meridian organic good stuff with a sensible proportion of blackcurrant juice in it.


perlmonger: (Default)

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