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Category Archives: Cycling

today has been exhausting

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The westward view from lunchtime. Photo ยฉ Gianluca D. Pompili

We’re all OK, really, despite the continuing uncertainty around when I might return to the office. Dr B went for a pushbike ride today, and enjoyed the almost 70 Km round trip that, he said, was accomplished at a manageable pace. YoungB decided against commuting by pushbike today, to avoid battling the severe wind and rain forecast for the homeward leg. He went running with a workmate at lunchtime instead, and stopped on the bridge to take a photo. You’d swear that was a warm, sunny day, wouldn’t you, with not a cloud in sight? It was. It didn’t last.

I worked today, as usual. Everything seemed messy and muddly. In part, the technology sulked. Sulking along with it felt like a perfectly reasonable response, so I did precisely that. I swore a lot, anyway, which is probably sulking by any other name. I got out into the garden at lunchtime for a spot of sunshine and exercise, but the plentiful sunshine didn’t equal warmth although it lifted my spirits marginally.

I’m tired. Try as I might, I cannot muster enthusiasm for any crafting endeavour of any variety, now that the urgent deadlines have passed and I’ve yet to decide on a new project. July has only just begun and the worst of winter is still ahead of us. It’s always a difficult time of year. That I am continuing to WFH is a good thing, because I don’t have to worry too much about the cold and grey that wait outdoors.

I hope your cold and grey stay outdoors, too, so that you don’t have to worry about them ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2020 in Cycling, Health

 

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staggering a little

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Cinelli forever! This many weeks later, would be helped by long stuff on the legs

And it’s back to work my office goes from tomorrow, although we’re transitioning in a staggered manner: we’ll adhere to the original timetable, and not everyone will return simultaneously. My team is among the last scheduled to return, but I’ll continue WFH for a little longer because of Dr B. He has his uses, after all.

YoungB has cooked up his week’s worth of food – a very tasty beef casserole accompanied by Basmati rice – and is preparing to ride his pushbike again. I admire his dedication for all sorts of reasons, not least among them that he goes out in short knicks in the middle of winter. He has winter jerseys but the long bib-knicks he ordered haven’t yet turned up (and probably won’t until August). He mixes and matches short bibs and compression leggings so that he’s not out there with too much bare skin but it’s not quite the same as a purpose-made piece of all-in-one clothing.

No, I’m not volunteering to sew any, thank you. I made pencil shorts for him years ago, to address the modesty factor under his choir robes. In those days, I could have adapted the pattern to make a pair of child’s cycling shorts, albeit minus padding, more for the streamlined appearance than the protection. Nowadays, as with any serious endeavour, he needs the real thing with proper padding in the right places. As an old friend of mine used to say, referring to gel saddles in that instance, you have to protect your assets. She’d usually add that hers had been frozen for years, but that’s precisely what YoungB is trying to avoid.

And so, he’ll stagger on for a bit longer with the clothing set-up he’s managed to make work, and I’ll manage to work with the office set-up I’ve become accustomed to. In my case, I anticipate that staggering will be kept to a minimum.

I hope your staggering is also minimal ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2020 in Cycling, Health, Sewing

 

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that certain sound

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Last week was cold but not wet. It’s a different story today.

Yesterday was wet. The rain has taken on that “I’m here for winter” sound, the one where it just falls steadily onto the rooftops and it’s not a downpour but it’s constant, except for the moments when the wind whips it up and you can hear the eddies because of the changed sound pattern. Then the wind drops and the rain settles back into a steady rhythm.

For us, winter started today, meaning that yesterday felt like good practice for the vicissitudes of returning to work in cold, wet weather. But I wasn’t. My team isn’t slated to return until Wednesday, anyway, and Dr B’s at-risk status means I’m likely to continue WFH for a few more weeks. I say that as a statement of fact, but am mightily pleased that that is the case. I’m never fond of commuting when it’s cold, wet and windy because there’s entirely too much of the trip that means you’re in the weather. Yeah, nah.

YoungB was planning to cycle to work, as he did four days last week, but I persuaded him that a forecast of not only heavy rain but also likely hail was perhaps a time to consider discretion the better part of valour and catch the bus. It wasn’t simply a matter of him being cold and wet by the time he reached work – there are hot showers and good change-room facilities at the other end – but because visibility will be reduced and other road users less readily able to see him, despite any hi-vis gear.

One of my long-ago bosses once remarked, with depressing accuracy, that people drive faster in the rain, so much so that you’d think they’re getting wet inside their cars. Of course they’re not, but their increased speed means longer stopping time plus the added danger of sliding if tyres don’t grip. You want to go up against that? You don’t. Cycling in the rain carries higher risk and it’s prudent rather than wimpy to avoid that escalated risk. Even Dr B decided that he wouldn’t go out for his weekly group ride, but stoked up the trainer for another long session.

Me? Well, I was working, continuing to shelter in place while bringing home the bread. I hope you are, too.

 
 

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man on a mission

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Auditing joining-round colour options for the next blanket ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I ran out of yarn, I sent Dr B on a mercy mission to purchase more! He was looking for an excuse to take his motorbike for a run, so I asked if he could drop in to the LYS and pick up some more white for me. He was delighted to oblige. When he returned triumphant, he said he’d felt quite overwhelmed by the experience. I’d given him ball bands and clear instructions, but the present staffing levels arising from COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow personal assistance and he’d had No Idea what he was looking for (or where to look for it) in what is one of the larger stores. It’s a bit how I feel when they send me off on lunchtime errands to auto shops or bike shops (not something that happens often nowadays, but certainly did in the past), so I was generous with my thanks and praise.

I’ve crocheted through another couple of – shorter – work meetings to great effect, using the new yarn. The end is almost in sight, because what’s left now is the border. If push came to shove, I would call it finished as is: the squares are all joined together and, as they’re edged with white, there’s necessarily a white edge around the whole thing. I think it needs at least one more bordering round to tidy the corners that don’t meet as well as they could; but more likely three, to set it off nicely and reintroduce some colour, perhaps in a simple but decorative manner. So, when I’ve an hour or two to spare – and without doing all the joins, straight crochet around the edges of a baby blanket is a lovely, simple thing! – I can probably sort that out.

Meanwhile, when I can summon the concentration for trickier work, I’m doing quite nicely with the African flower squares. They’re very different and equally as lovely but work to a slightly larger finished size. This is somewhat headache-inducing in terms of calculating how large a blanket they will make in comparative terms, so that there’s a reasonably equitable outcome. I will soon need to make a decision about not only the number of them I require but also which joining method I intend to use. A variant of the one I used for the rainbow blanket is likely to come out the winner. I reckon I understand that method now, and it’s a good way to tidy up any dodgy edges. I found more of those than I’d expected in the rainbow squares. I knew about one in the first square I’d made butย  – as you might expect in something made over such a long period of time – I discovered a couple of others that had escaped my attention. Ahem.

I also need to consider what joining colour to use, because – experience being a great teacher – I’ve realised that I absolutely don’t have enough of anything to do the joining round ๐Ÿ˜€

 

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2020 in Crochet, Motorcycling

 

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stuck here for a bit

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I have completed a bit more since joining my new yarn

As you can see, the blanket-making is showing good progress, but Life pressing in with its usual urgency means I’m now going to struggle to find large chunks of time that aren’t circumscribed by employment necessities.

YoungB will be back at his office from tomorrow, hence today is a little less casual and cosy than it could be as we get the last bits and pieces sorted out. He took his equipment back yesterday and plans to ride his pushbike tomorrow so that he doesn’t lose the benefit of any lockdown fitness gains, or squander money on a bus fare when he could choose a cheaper option. Really, Adelaide’s bus fares are not as exorbitant as he thinks, but they are a consideration when you’re trying to be careful of both your money and the planet. Later on, he’ll do a cook-up.

My office starts a staged return the following Monday, whatever that means in real terms. I have no departmental equipment so I might be one of the first to return because I can simply go to my desk, stoke up and start working. Or, because I don’t have any departmental equipment, I might be one of the last so that I can continue to be productive at home while everyone else gets IT issues sorted out amid considerable noise and disruption. It won’t be seamless, but our local corporate team is excellent, so it will certainly be as smooth as possible. As I’ve said before, I’ll simply do as I’m told.

Given that our “new normal” probably means future WFH is likely to be approved for folk not sick enough to stop working but potentially carrying a contagion – if, for example, you have a cough that is probably harmless but might not be; and nobody would want to risk the latter – I will buy another ergonomic mouse this week, so that I have one at home and one at work. Just in case. Also, flu season is on its way.

I’ve already done a reasonable amount of joining work on the blanket: by now seven squares are fully enclosed. However, there are 35 squares in total. As you can see, some are already partially enclosed but I don’t think I could claim I’m truly at the halfway mark and I’ve had to start my second ball of white cotton yarn. Considering all of that, I might also make a mercy dash to my LYS to purchase another one. I can’t imagine how cranky I’d be if I ran out half a square from the end! As it’s white, it would always be useful for something.

I pause to note that my stash contains a 200g ball of white cotton yarn that would have given me ample wiggle room; but it’s the wrong thickness and noticeably different.

May all your existing yarn be precisely adequate for your needs ๐Ÿ˜€

 

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but water is good

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Rainy view of the city. from the roadside. Photo ยฉ Gianluca D. Pompili

YoungB went cycling and got caught in a downpour. It didn’t last long, but he was decidedly soaked and cold enough by the time he arrived home. He was still on an exercise high and in good spirits, so he stripped off a couple of layers and hopped under a shower. The restorative value of hot water. Right?

He reckons that he and I are hiking tomorrow morning, to which end he has resurrected his water bladder. Yeah, sure. There are showers forecast but no downpours. I’ll let you know how we go ๐Ÿ˜€

 
 

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Sunday arvo in the burbs

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Everything at my fingertips, and that waiting square now done ๐Ÿ™‚

Big mug of jasmine tea, good book, phone (in case anyone calls), (slowly) growing pile of granny squares, excellent daylight for ease of both crocheting and sewing (increasing number of squares with ends tidied), pleasant temperature… what more could you want for an afternoon’s relaxing?

Dr B seemed to think I was having not merely a relaxing afternoon, but a lovely, relaxing day doing nothing at all but read a good book and crochet some more squares for the baby rug. Obviously it must have looked that way to him. But by the time he said that – patting my shoulder as he passed my chair – I’d dealt with three loads of laundry and chivvied YoungB into doing a load for himself. Believe me, if Dr B had dealt with all of that, you’d probably still be hearing about it wherever you are! No matter.

He spent at least half his day with his guitar, working on Classical Gas. He did a spot of bike maintenance (both pushbike and motorbike). He did a spot of gardening (pulled up three weeds, I think). He hunter-gathered for us so that we didn’t starve (a most unlikely outcome). That is, he generally took things a bit easy so that he’s refreshed for tomorrow’s pushbike ride.

YoungB was out on Friday night: first at soccer with a gaggle of friends, then a Fringe gig with an expanded gaggle, before staying overnight with one of them and coming home late, then rushing into town for a family lunch and later a catch-up with another mate. It was a busy day and he was exhausted by the end of it, so looking for a quieter day today. He did a load of laundry (see above) and a bit of pushbike prep for the week, but that was about the limit of his exertion.

I hope your weekend has also been pleasant and productive ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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a headachey week, and TDU

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These are not in final order, or any order at all. But aren’t they cheerful, even though the lighting is so dim?

When a colleague asks sympathetically if your day’s absence from work was because you had a “real headache” or a “husband headache”, you know the world isn’t entirely devoid of goodness and good humour.

The headache having been real, if occasionally exacerbated by the husband, I decided to reduce my small-screen time when away from work. This enabled me to make a few more starburst granny squares, and sit with Dr B occasionally to watch the day’s replay of Tour Down Under stages on our “we need it that large so we can read the subtitles” TV.

Dr B rode his motorbike to a couple of the stages, for the buzz and the solidarity. The days of family involvement in the community challenge are behind us for mostly practical reasons, but we remain strong supporters. However, as we’ve long agreed, the best way to see the race is to view it on a big screen. If that’s in the comfort of your own lounge room rather than the sporting bar of some local hostelry then, while you might miss the camaraderie, you certainly don’t have to queue for anything.

I should admit that the crochet hasn’t been without its moments of exacerbating the headache. I strayed from the matrix for one square – too tired or too inattentive or both – and ended up having to unpick a round; but just one round, on a granny square, so no big deal. A couple of other squares required mid-round unpicking – again, no big deal – and the one I’m trying to do now simply doesn’t want to cooperate. So I’ve stopped for a while and started to sew in some ends. A change of pace is always helpful.

The colours are, as you would expect, rainbow-cheerful, and different people like different squares. When I took my crochet to our fortnightly craft corner at work, one square that doesn’t do much for me was pronounced as the firm favourite by a couple of others. So there you are. Rainbows have something for everyone.

The Lincraft 8-ply cotton that I’m using is lovely to work with. It’s soft, but has good definition and doesn’t split. The range of colours is not bad. Because I work in the city and there’s a nearby store, I can bob in after work and grab more if I run out. I’m trying not to buy more than my calculations suggest I need, but it would be frustrating to lose the game of yarn chicken half a round, or less, from the end.

That would create a headache of its own, wouldn’t it?

 

 
 

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another of those weeks

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Spotted out the front of my building, undoubtedly ready for someone to make a quick getaway ๐Ÿ˜€

There have been days lately where I’ve needed to remind myself that I have a 100 per cent success rate with at least one KPI: I have reached the end of every working day without killing anyone! Yep, yet again, everyone has wended their way homeward, though if looks could kill…

We’re all tired and stressed and we are all busy. It’s a time when being a team player is a cardinal virtue and, yes, it’s true that not everyone is. Oh, well.

Big picture check: is the planet still rotating on its axis? Tick.

Well there you go. Nowt to worry about ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2019 in Health, Motorcycling

 

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oh, I think that was another week

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There was no Bugatti, so I thought I’d share this one, an exhibit at the Aalholm Automobile Museum in Denmark. Photo with my Dad in 1986. There’s a better photo at the link, which discusses the sale of the museum’s collection.

My work has been mind-numbingly busy, in a mind-numbing way. Allergies are still wreaking havoc all round. Whatever last week was about, I played bocce at lunchtime on Friday and made it to Saturday. Today we attended an Italian motor show. Dr B showed off his motorbike, and YoungB showed off his car. Both were much admired by fellow aficionados.

As well as lots of Alfas, Abarths and Fiats, of varying ages, shapes and sizes, there were low-slung Lamborghinis (although I’m not sure they actually come in anything but low slung, to be fair), muscular Maseratis and an astonishing number of fabulous Ferraris, including this one, which was truly amazing. My other favourite was what the organisers described as a Fiat 500 on steroids! It was gorgeous and I would certainly like one of those under the Christmas tree this year, thank you, Santa. Surprisingly, there was only one other motorbike, and one all-but obligatory scooter.

There was excellent pizza, there were cakes and gelati, and a raffle. YoungB won a prize! I think the bucket of cleaning gear will provide much long-term usefulness although it’s certainly less exciting than the prize he missed out on by one ticket, namely being able to drive one of the exhibited new Alfas for a weekend, courtesy one of the main sponsors ๐Ÿ™‚

All up, it was a lovely day. We’re all exhausted and a bit sunburnt, but will undoubtedly be back at the grindstone again tomorrow.

May your Sunday have been as enjoyable as ours, whether or not it involved a car show of any sort ๐Ÿ™‚

 
 

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