Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Review of 2008

These were the personal goals I set for this year that's almost through now. How did I do, not as well as had planned but with mitigating circumstances I like to think!

Goals for 2008

  • Be a better person. I’m rubbish at being. Need to be better.

>>> Think have made some progress in being a better person, work to be done!

  • Stop drinking full stop or learn how to moderate it which I don’t think I can so am going to stop drinking. Should help with the above.

>>> Achieved - although am capable of going on a bit of a bender I've also been on a hundred day abstinence and another shorter one at the tail end of summer so can turn it on/turn it off when I want. There's going to be another hundred dayer starting in January as part of preps for London Marathon.

  • Run a half marathon – am thinking about the Great North Run which is Sunday October 5th and gives me plenty of time to do proper training. Most of the other Great Runs are 10k which is easily doable for me right now so while I might do one of those instead I think it’d be a copout.

>>> Yes done the distance on half a dozen occasions in 2008, also found a good route that takes in Clough Wood near Darley Dale that was great fun see post here from June

  • Do a sixty plus mile bike ride. Have been asked by one of our neighbours Jenny to do a sponsored bike ride for Charity – am kind of wondering how much ground I could cover in a weekend? Perhaps get on a train to somewhere and cycle back?

>>> After breaking wrist in January (see disaster day post) I could cut myself some slack here but fact is that I ought to have achieved it. I did some 20 to 30-milers but could have done so much more particularly with a bike as good as the Giant FCR1, there's no excuse really.

  • Get weight to under 14 stone.

>>> Spectacular failure here 2009 is going to see a big march back to where weight should be. Am disappointed with myself on this one.

  • Continue not smoking.

>>> Wahey, who'd have thunk it - not a single ciggy since July 2007, still miss em but it's getting less over time. Well Pleased.

  • Learn how to play golf properly instead of putting up with a crap swing and a good short game.

>>> Well, swing is more upright I suppose but results haven't been as good as I'd have hoped. On positive side I came third in a Honda Corporate thing (details here) and more recently my golfing buddy John and myself came second in the Fur and Feather comp at Ashbourne Golf Club winning a Turkey for the Xmas table - which made a bit change from the usual pork pie or packet of shortbread!!!

  • Read more - get at least a book every other month read!

>>> More to be done here, can't remember reading a lot of books this year - I enjoyed Ian Rankin's 'Open Doors' but somehow don't make time for reading which is a shame as I used to always have my head in a book!

So for 2009 there's a ton of work to be done. One things for sure, the major goals for the short terms will be simple and geared around the Marathon in April.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Ding Dong the Rubbish Manager's Gone

Back to work this morning, so went out walking not in the best of spirits (much as I like work). Picked up the newspaper from Jewitt's newsagents this morning and joy of joys Paul Jewell has quit! Bless him, he'd lost the team weeks back so he had to go, nice to see it in print though lifted my mood no end! Now have to consider getting a half season ticket, wahey.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Sunday 28th Dec 08 to Saturday 3rd Jan 09

Saturday 3rd Jan 09
Another four miler this morning, easier than yesterday legs are remembering the drill now. Just ordered some new running shoes for the run-up to the marathon (pardon the pun). Will report on their effectiveness in the near future. Haven't been as pleased with the second pair of Asics shoes so have gone for some Saucony Mens ProGrid Omni 6 shoes which have been knocked down from £80 to £45 so ought to be fairly good. We'll see. The internet radio which is a Freecom something or other won't work over wireless lan which is a pain in the ass. So I've had to move the router again and plug it straight into that. Further problem is that although you can stream Radio Derby via a PC it's not strictly Internet Radio and the Freecom don't pick it up. What a pain.

Friday 2nd Jan 09
Got my running head back - steady four miles this morning. Carrying far too much weight - very poor but least them little legs are moving again! Just heard from me bro who is bringing me new toy over - an internet radio no less which should be good for the missus as our DAB system picks up diddly-squat. Hopefully it'll be the ideal solution!

Well the internet radio doesn't work over wireless but will work if i hook it up directly to the router so that's something I suppose. When I was out running this morning I had radio four on Janette's little Sansdisk Fuse MP3/Radio gadget and was listening to an interview with a foreign fella who was obviously some sort of designer. Strangely (as am not into fashion one bit - jeans and t-shirt bloke am I) I found myself agreeing with this chap quite a bit. Was dead surprised to find it was none other than Karl Lagerfeld. His view on Fur was interesting - which was basically if you're happy with leather shoes what's your problem with fur? He actually said - "In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and even clothes and handbags, the discussion of fur is childish."
Read more here as I say not into fashion one bit but must admit there wasn't much I disagreed with - he didn't sound very german though.

Good news on the biking front. Got the old Incognito out and did six miles on it this afternoon. It won't change into the lower gears unfortunately - I have to kick the rear derailleur on hills so I think I'll have to drop it of at Lumbards Garage up town sometime soon.

Thursday 1st Jan 09
Happy New Year! Blimey where did 2008 go? 3 miles walk again, just looking after them knees. Hit a few golf balls up the golf course.

Wednesday 31st Dec 08
Got older - 41 bloomin years old. Not best pleased!! Did 3 mile walk up town and back for papers. Hit a few golf balls in the afternoon, not much to report.

Tuesday 30th Dec 08
Well didn't get to gym other than to pick my running shoes up which I left there last week. Did a ton of miscellaneous jobs though and contacted my old boss who I worked for getting on twenty years ago through the miracle that is facebook which was good. Have got me running shoes on right now and am off for a three miler at about 6am. Had got up early to set bread off and see South Africa finish off Australia in the test but by the looks of things it must have happened hours ago!!! Good, stuff them aussies! Stevie Gerrard been charged with assault, wonder what that was all about, you'd think with all the cash he earns he'd pay someone to take care of assaulting for him?

Solid run for 3.5 miles no walking but chest was on fire - am sure it gets harder when weather gets colder - will check with my marathon guru Miss Briggs in the design team.

Monday 29th Dec 08
Back at work today and tomorrow then off until next Monday which will do me. Got a bit of pain in the left knee after yesterdays run so am just going to walk up town and back this morning, take it easy. With a bit of luck should get in the gym for an hour but have also got to pick stuff up from Argos for Phil. Bought him a Dell XPS1 PC for Xmas and he now needs a printer, bless him so have spied a Brother multi-function printer that uses four cartridges so should go longer between replacement and the replacement cartridges can be picked up for a fiver a set on Ebay so if my homework's on the money it should be just the ticket!

Sunday 28th Dec 08
Went for a six and a half mile run this morning which was okay. Walked in places but at least am getting back to it! My running shoes I've left in the office which is a bit of a beggar have had to run in some Nike's that I'd normally wear just for the gym. Last couple of days have been walking up golf course with an 8-iron finding balls and hitting the odd shot. Saw Doug playing yesterday I reckon him and the two guys he was playing with were the only ones on the course. Have consumed a simply massive amount of alcohol, absolutely unbelievable amount (well to me in recent times so there's going to be one heck of a weight gain when back to work).

Sun shining on Mayfield but it was bloomin cold let me tell you. (for reference middle of pic is Andressey Island on the map below).

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Sunday 21st to Saturday 27th Dec

Friday 26th
Well no exercise over the last few days other than raising a glass far too frequently. Hungover to hell and back this morning which is my own stupid fault. Bout time I grew up what! Got the G'N'R' album for Xmas it's stunning, well pleased. Got the missus a Sansdisk Fuze with 8GB of memory for about fifty quid - it's bloomin aweseome, wish I'd had one for mesen now!

Tuesday 23rd
No exercise this morning had to be in office well early for a last minute rehearsal. Final working day before Xmas, playing with the (should be) band at lunch time. Lucky thing is that we've got a semi-pro singer gal helping us out for an Abba tune and it sounds great and will be our redemption at two o'clock this afternoon so it will!

Monday 22nd
Just three miles walking this morning. Knee hurt a bit from yesterday largely due to drumming I'd say (more to follow Xmas Eve). Me and John came second in the fur and feather comp at the golf club resulting in winning a most impressive Turkey which is much better than the pork pie or shotbread that we've won every other year!!! Well chuffed about that.

Sunday 21st
Today's going to be a mixed bag - we find out what we won at the fur and feather comp later today but I've got to go into work for 2pm so can't attend personally. Have been out and done the old six mile round Mappleton run but have had to walk in places - just feel knackered and a bit achy at the moment. It's same every year at Xmas I seem to pick up a cold as soon as the defences are down and time off approaches...

Friday, 19 December 2008

Rockin in the Free World

A strange affair my car stereo is at the minute. Have got G'n'R's new album 'Chinese Democracy' sitting next door to UFOs live class 'Strangers in the Night' sitting next to 'Appetite for Destruction'. And regardless of the naysayers and knockers they're all classic albums. Chinese Democracy has been slagged off left, right and centre but you got to listen to it a few times to get it. If every track was just like 'Better' you'd get it straight away but they're not - it's a wierd album that grows. Okay it took a ridiculous amount of time to produce, okay there's only Axl from original lineup, yes there's a million guitarists on every track and hundreds of layers, overdubs and loops all over it but it's brilliant - it's a modern day masterpiece that deserves more than a cursory listen.

If you want to hear a classic live album; get your lugoles wrapped around 'Strangers in the Night'. Phil Mogg's crew with the classic Schenker lineup were short-lived, underated but absolutely as tight as it gets as live performers. You sense from this album that they were on a mission to prove something over headliners Blue Oyster Cult (who were in the multi-changer until a few weeks ago), slagging the p.a. company and the licensing laws off from track to track. Schenker's guitar work is something else on this album, when he left I don't think UFO were ever the same and I reckon he lost something too. What knocks my socks off about this album is how tight they were - no bum notes, never a beat missed, sharp ending, note-perfect solos the works.

Apparently, Slash the former G'N'R' axe-hero cites 'Strangers' as his favourite live album and the wierd thing is you can spot similarities - G'N'R's 'Rocket queen' shares something with the intro to 'Light's out' which is great.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Week from Sunday 14th Dec to Saturday 20th Dec

Saturday 20th
Just a bit of a walk up town this morning. Then played golf of ultra crapness in constant cruddy rain. We shook hands on the 13th but we weren't really trying, in fairness the guys we played really did play well we lost to pars and birdies all over the place, think we only won the 8th hole all day. Spoke to my mum last night, she's took a sponsorship form with her to her walking club and got me £45 worth of sponsorship so I've gone up to getting on for £250 and it's not even Christmas yet!!

Friday 19th
Same distance as yesterday. Weight up by 2lbs in a week. Not surprised too much bleedin chocolate everywhere. Xmas is a right pain.

Thursday 18th
Four more miles at a steady pace. Into office for 8:30 meeting. Everything ticking over nicely.

Wednesday 17th
Ha ha, up at 4:45am four more excellent quality loaves done. Done a five mile run this morning with pace and everything. The old route round watery lane, up Mayfield road, up the park, along the Clifton road. Marathon fund is upto £180 !! Ha Ha. Just £820 to go!

Tuesday 16th
Went to see Doctor yesterday. He twisted me leg and all sorts - thinks it's ligament damage rather than cartilege which if he's right is the preferable of the two - means that the marathon is still on. Have decided to take it easy on the old knee a bit so am only going to run every other day. Went for a walk for 3.5 miles this morning nice and steady which is okay - it still burns up calories. Did four more loaves last night, still working nicely at the mo. Forgot to post weight loss up last Friday (mind on other things) - back to 15st 4lbs. Still a ton of work to be done before marathon in April.

Monday 15th
Ha ha, running again. 5.35 miles approximately according to bike route toaster. Steady stuff nothing too quck as pavements were mighty frosty again. Am seeing doctor about the knee later so we'll see what he's got to say.

Sunday 14th
No running again - a bit naff but did 18 holes of golf for first time with new clubs which I didn't get on tremendously well with until last few holes. Belted a five iron a good 160 yards into the 17th which was nice but hit a lot of low hooky shots which I think must be down to the off set on em. Anyway from being in a position of two up with two to play we managed to lose the next two holes and only come away with a half. We were playing a 3-handicapper and a 9-handicapper so it wasn't really a bad result all told.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Top Drumming

Saw this cool video on Youtube by a gal called Dale Anne Brendon. Jeez can she play.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Beating the Credit Crunch - Breadmaking Economics - How much does a breadmaker make a loaf for??

Abby at work asked me how much it cost to make bread with my Morphy Richards bread maker? "Well, I think it's about thirty odd pence or so" I replied. Seeing as I wasn't sure I thought I'd better do some research to find out how much it actually costs me to make a loaf. I thought white loaves were a lot less than my 50/50 loaves because of the flour being cheaper but in actual fact there's not much in it really.

A 50:50 wholeameal/white loaf costs me about 43 pence plus power so probably 50p for a large loaf. Note have missed 350ml of tepid water from above recipe but it wouldn't add to cost.

A purely white loaf costs 40p even though the flour's a lot cheaper the dried milk powder ramps it up somewhat. I think I can get dried skimmed milk cheaper than that but am not 100% sure so have used Tesco's price checker. Still, even at 50p you're getting a fresh loaf with no added nonsense that's as tasty as you can get in my opinion.

Got to be cheaper than supermarket bread and it's not that cotton wool rubbish either. A breadmaker can do far more than just make bread though - cake, jam, pizza dough and loads of bits and bobs.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Basic White Loaf on Long Program

Picture below is of my first successful 'long program' loaf with the Morphy Richards. The reason for the lack of success up til now with it has been what my old boss Angus would have called a lack of RTFM. i.e. read the flippin manual. If I had read it properly I would have noticed that there are basically two different types of yeast you tend to use in bread machines - there's traditional dried active yeast and then there's fast acting or rapid dried yeast. In the past I've used rapid dried yeast on the long programs and it would appear it's wholly inappropriate!!

This is the first time I've used Allinson's traditional dried active yeast and it works a bloomin treat - you use more than you do with the quick programs but by my reckoning it costs a little bit less. Tesco's are doing 125g pots for 76p at the moment, which compares well with the rapid stuff which costs 54p for 56g (8 x 7g packets).

Anyroad up, this is the recipe I used which is more or less along the lines of the Morphy Richards basic recipe in the manual (which I'm paying more attention to as you can tell!!!). Do the ingredients into the pan in that order and then set it off on the basic program.

400ml tepid water (100ml boiling, rest cold)
4tbsp of skimmed milk powder
3 tbsp of castor sugar
2 tsp of salt
4 tbps of sunflower oil
550g of strong white bread flour
3 tsp of Allinson's traditional dried active yeast

Week from Sunday 7th to Saturday 13th December

Saturday 11th December
Bit naffed off. Had three cans of Carling last night, was reasonably merry but hungover as anything this morning, don't know how that works. So was up before 6am. Set off a loaf on timer and it worked, so pleased with that. The amount of yeast in the recipe in the Morphy Richards book was basically wrong is needs a good three of active dried yeast not two. Am going to experiment a bit more until I've got the timer one nailed. The quick bake settings I absolutely rock at.

Chucking it down with rain from the minute I've got up right up to this moment 10:15am so no run done and am helping out at the kids party at work later so am wondering where the exercise is going to fit in exactly today. Going to do loads of pressups this morning. Have been doing a dejunking exercise a bit this morning too in the absence of running.

Friday 10th December
4:45am again - what a great time of day this is - almost like being dead only more hassle. Anyway, another five loaves done and dusted. Which is good. Got out running early doors still only done about 3.5/4miles but I can definitely do more I reckon so am going to give it a proper run out tomorrow morning and see what we can do. Got my big Xmas present last night off of Ebay. A Set of steel shafted Callaway X12 irons.

Thursday 11th December
4:45am this morning but my god, am I organised. In office for 8am. Five loaves done again. Going to update my fund raising figures later but we're getting on for £170 I reckon. Three and a half mile run done which I thought was further but looking at it would appear it isn't

Wednesday 10th December
Up at crack of dawn as usual. Have got my breadmaking mojo back, went to bed with three good uns in the bag and have set two more off at 5am and 5:10am. Morphy Richards have sent me one of the Accents range of Breadmakers which makes lovely loaves like the one below:-

In my view they're not quite as attractive looking as the loaves made by the old faithful but they are quicker by some 20 minutes. This beauty will bang out a loaf in 1hr 38m on the rapid bake setting compared to a smidge under 2hrs for the old one, which is good at it means I can stagger production nicely! It also means I can start upping production (already have really - there should be five loaves done by time I set off for work!). Am just using my standard recipes rather than the ones in the book. I'll have a bit of an experiment at the weekend and then see where we are with the ones in the book. Any, bloomin marvellous of Morphy Richards to help me out this way so look out for a review of their excellent kit in the near future!!

Will be whizzing off for a 3.5 mile run in about three quarters of an hour, just doing some GIS work on the laptop and stuff.

Picture below is of new Breadmaker, not a very good pic but gives you an idea - it's got a cool backlit lcd screen and there's even a light inside so you can have a look what's going on! Not only that but 13 programs including a customisable one which looks a bit on the technical side for me!

Tuesday 9th December
For second day in a row the bread has not risen as well as I'd expect. Don't know what's going on there? Certainly don't think I can charge people for bread that don't look right, might ask for a contribution perhaps. Anyway, lot of effort, no return. Morphy Richards have delivered the goods too, now have two machines, am going to get my head round using it tonight with a bit of luck! Off for a short 3 mile run this morning. Am knackered before I begin if I'm honest but need to get my exercise regime working that's for sure have put on much too much weight and am really hacked at myself for it.

Monday 8th December
Well breadmaking didn't go quite so swimmingly last night. Said the timer one to finish for five o'clock and it's delivered a brick. I've told Julia at work if it's inedible to use it for a paperweight - I've either overdone the salt or killed the yeast but I'm sure you can put yeast in the fridge, maybe I'm wrong. Went up the golf course yesterday afternoon for a bit of a practice. Hit some grand shots so am looking forward to next time I play proper, found a few balls too, which was good.

This morning have done a steady four mile run. After golf my knee seems to be worse so thought I was going to have to walk but thought what the hell let's give it a go and it's worked out alright. Good start to the day.

Sunday 7th December
Friday and Saturday night I thought would be a good opportunity to catch up on disturbed sleep (have been getting up at 3am to load breadmakers and stuff) however, body clock is all buggered up now and am waking at 3am naturally. Ho hum.

Anyway after two hours from 3am to 5am of not being able to get back to sleep I got up and got some work done, yesterday was typing up notes from meetings, this morning writing out a project scope that's about a week late in any case so better get it off in the morning!

Went for another run. Did four miles or so from Clifton to Snelston and back in a big old loop. Talk about cold, there'll be brass monkeys looking for welders everywhere today, I tells ya. Have used to put the map in to work out the distance in the absence of the mighty edge. Think I might have to put one of those Garmin Forerunners or somesuch on my Xmas list.

Rugby was cancelled due to pitch being frozen so missed out on the sunday morning bacon cob. Most disappointed.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Best of Both 50:50 White/Wholemeal Breadmaker Recipe

I've been working on improving the 50:50 recipe, scanning t'interweb I've picked up some top tips over the last few days so been trying out this and that. This is me new, improved 50:50 recipe!

100ml boiling water (new*)
230ml cold water
2.5 tbsp sunflower oil
1tsp salt
3 or 4 tsp sugar
275g strong white bread flour
275g strong wholemeal bread flour
1 and a third tsp fast action yeast

Bang into Breadmaker pan in that order, switch onto quick program and two hours later you get something like the following:-

NOTE: I don't do anonymous comments - too much spam