20 01 2014

Last year at this time I was in full training for Iceland. This year I’ve been dithering, changing my mind almost daily about what big trip I’m going to do and actually settling on nothing.

Today I realised that I need to book a flight to motivate me. I’ve decided to do this when I get back from my trip to London this week. I think I’ll spend the month of June cycling around the Pyrenees and northern Spain. I’ll only book a one way ticket to leave me more flexible than previous trips have been.

Hopefull once booked I’ll be more motivated to train for the big hills.

Monday in Achnamara

8 01 2014

I’ve done no writing today, instead I decided to go for a proper cycle and headed up over the hill to the Crinan Canal, then across the Moss to the Oban road and finally down to Kilmichael Glen. I went a few kilometres up the glen before turning back. The rain came on so I called in at school and had a cup of tea with my replacement. The cycle back was pretty tough as it was raining and I was cycling into the energy sapping wind. I even needed to pedal down Gariob brae which I’ve never done before. The result is that I’m pretty knackered but I did do about 35km. I’ll try to focus on writing tomorrow but it was so good to get out and get some exercise. After all it is the reason I came back over west on my own.

I also managed to repair the garage door which was ripped off in one of the storms. This means I can now access my tools, not sure if that is good thing or bad.

I made up my mind to stand on the scales this morning; the result of which was unpleasant but not a surprise. At least I now know what I have to tackle and it is very achievable and I’m nowhere near where I was when I was very heavy.

I’m still sleeping very badly, managing just under three hours last night. I got myself out of bed at 08.00 and have stayed awake ever since to try to normalise my hours and reverse this pattern where I seem to be flipping day and night. At a recent visit to the doc I was given some sleeping tablets but am pretty reluctant to take them as I’m pretty sure that I could become very dependant on them very quickly.

I’ve also agreed to do two days of supply teaching in the next fortnight in two local schools. The money is absolutely rubbish but at least it will subsidise some trips away or some toys. I feel that if I don’t do some soon I’ll never do it. It has now been six months since I’ve done any teaching and I’ve been dreading having to do it but I do like my toys and my trips away so I have to earn the extra money.


21 12 2013

Apart from a trip to the shops and a 5km walk I’ve spent the day writing up the Iceland trip. I’m intending eventually publishing this as an e-book on the Kindle; in fact as two books, one in colour for tablets and another in mono for the more traditional Kindle (some different photos). I’ve written about 35 A4 pages so far but I’ve still quite a number of photos to embed. Still a long way to go but I’m really enjoying the writing.


9 12 2013

We’ve had a real blow of a storm here with winds of over 90 mph. There was a bit of damage to the house but nothing too bad. Fortunately I went round the garden beforehand and tied everything down. I hate these winter storm. They almost always result in long power cuts and this was no exception. The power was out for 30 hours and to say the least it was pretty boring here. I spent the time practising on the harmonica, pipes and banjo.

Tomorrow J is coming over for the week and then we have a week in the Capital before coming over here for Christmas and New Year. No idea yet if any friends are coming for New Year, we’ll just wait and see.

I’m posting much less these days as I’m using Facebook much more.

Into the routine

22 11 2013

It’s great to be home at last. I’ve been getting up earlier and sorting a few things out around the house but most of all I’m enjoying being with my musical instruments. I recently failed dismally when my friends were over from the States. I’d not played in ages and discovered that I can no longer wing it without practice. Each day now I spend time practicing on a range of instruments. I’ve been working hard at getting to grips with my Irish tenor banjo, still a long way to go. This morning I played the smallpipes but they hurt my shoulder a wee bit, I think I just need to do it a bit more.

Tune of the moment is the Rocky Road to Dublin on the banjo. It will take months before i get this sounding acceptable but it never will unless I make a start.

J is still over here which means that I’m getting fed well, too well, I need to get out on the bike as the weight is creeping back. I’m not missing work but am missing the discipline of cycling 34km a day to and from work in almost all weathers. I’ve decided to set myself a personal 5×50 challenge and start today.

    My own 5×50

For the next 50 days I’ll cover 5km a day under my own steam. This could be cycling, running, walking or canoeing. Join me. There is an official 5×50 run by Sport Scotland but it’s not happening yet and I need the incentive now.

November days

17 11 2013

Up early this morning as I’m needing to get into a bit of routine. This retirement business has seen me gain weight and lie about in bed until after nine too often for my liking, both of which need rectified. I’m off home tomorrow and for once Mid Argyll has a good weather forecast. It will be good to be back there for a change.

Edinburgh Trams

12 11 2013

I’ve been working on a wee comic song (with a strong nod to the great William Topaz McGonnagall)

Edinburgh Trams

Now in the town of Edinburgh they came up with a plan

To cut the car pollution and to reduce the traffic jams

The council got together and they reached consensus

To spend 100 million pound to replace the airport bus


The Government agreed with it and said they’d chip in half

Though most of the taxpayers thought the very idea daft

But they went ahead with all their plans without a word of fuss

To spend 200 million pound to replace the airport bus


They all agreed the best idea was to settle on a tram

Streets were closed and shops were shut but they didn’t give a damn

The years went by and it was clear the plan was in deep trouble

For at 400 million pound the bloody cost had doubled


The firm who got the contract said the money was not enough

And Edinburgh Council for a year went on the huff

The work all stopped the streets stayed shut and with the situation thus

It was now 600 million pound to replace the airport bus


The route was halved and wouldn’t go as far as they had planned

And Princes St was shut once more to sort the work in hand

Seven years had now gone by and folk were still anxious

Now it was 700 million pound to replace the airport bus


The people of Old Edinburgh a lesson they have learned

Careful what you order you might get your fingers burned

The council and contractor were taken all on their trust

But they blew 750 million pounds to replace the airport bus.


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