“Your tax dollars at work”

If government ministers are trying to figure out where to make more public spending cuts, they could apparently do worse than start with the Cabinet Office.  Surely it can be no part of its function to commission and publish a “how to” on organising and running voluntary and community events? This guide is nothing more than the wheel re-invented, and I’m willing to bet it didn’t come cheap. Continue reading

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Is God dying? – Scientific American

atheismI enjoyed reading this article about the decline of religion and the rise of the ‘nones’, which I thought was very sensible.  However, much as I like to hear that religiosity is declining in the Western world there are a couple of things that worry me, both of which are related. Continue reading

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Mission Accomplished!

IMG_0793_medal_buck_houseMany thanks to all who supported me in this endeavour.  My fundraising page will remain open for a while yet, so if you feel moved to contribute, do please go ahead!

My main mission, of course, was to raise funds for the Cardiomyopathy Association (CMA) and I’m happy to say that the running total (including Gift Aid) stands at £626, with a trickle of donations still coming in.  Continue reading

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Jo Rowsell

miss_joanna_rowsell_mbeThis item, about the participation of Jo Rowsell MBE (world record holder and Team GB Olympic Gold medallist) puts me firmly in my place.  She’s never ridden as far as 100 miles before, but expects to do it in five hours.  I’ll be amazed if she doesn’t.  My target is a rather more stately eight hours…

Meanwhile, I rather hope I can steam past Boris.  All you can say about his effort is “Chapeaux!”Boris

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Almost ready

IMG_0838 croppedThis Sunday’s Wiggle Super Series sportive, the Magnificat, starts from Newbury racecourse and is the last organised ride I’ll be doing before the big one in August.  While the 81-mile standard course is still roughly twenty short of the August event, I believe it is quite hilly so it should be very good preparation.  I’m now lighter than I’ve ever been since I was at school, so I should be able to get up and over the hills without too much trouble.  The route is a southerly loop, which comes down through Hurstbourne Tarrant, Weyhill and Stockbridge to Winchester and so it will feel a bit weird turning round and heading all the way back up to Newbury via Whitchurch and Kingsclere, instead of heading on home.  I hope the northerly wind has dropped by then anyway.

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The Long One

wiggle-super-series-the-long-one-sportiveThis Saturday’s Wiggle Super Series event, The Long One, starts from Fontwell Racecourse.  The course has just been published and my reading of the map is that those – like me – doing the 81-mile Standard course will only get one feed station.  The 46-mile Short route won’t get one at all (although those doing the Epic 124-miles will get three).  Most unusual – it’s certainly going to feel like a long ride, especially as the profile looks like this:

TheLongOne2013-profile

At least the last five miles are mostly downhill!

[Post event note: thankfully, the organisers turned out to have entered one of the feed-station locations incorrectly on the map so all went well in the end.]

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MRI – result!

IMG_0838Yesterday, I received the result of my recent cardiac MRI.  It seems that little has changed since the last one in 2008, and that’s a great relief.  If it had shown increased scarring (fibrosis) then that would have suggested that my fitness regime was only succeeding at the expense  of damaging my heart muscle. Continue reading

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Engineering, or black art?

Halloween (Dark Arts)A fellow member of the BCS Elite LinkedIn group posted that The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is proposing some changes to official statistics that involve re-classifying IT & Telecoms as ‘creative’ alongside the following six creative industry sectors: advertising and marketing; architecture; design; film & TV; publishing; music and the arts.

There is a consultation, which closes on Friday, 14th June, to which I have already submitted the following: Continue reading

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New Forest Spring, and Bournemouth Sportives

Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive 2013Two sportives in eight days wouldn’t be my normal schedule, but the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive was rained off back in April and rescheduled for 1st June.  I was already booked on the Wiggle Bournemouth event the following Sunday, 9th June, hence the mileage overload. Continue reading

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I’ve joined the weight weenies

featherWeight and headwinds are the cyclist’s two greatest enemies.  It’s hard to do anything about the latter but the weight weenies will go to any lengths to try to overcome the former. Continue reading

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Simple arithmetic

abacusIn a large branch of a major store chain the other day, I handed over a 10% discount voucher.  The cashier didn’t know how to handle it and called the floor manager, a young man in his late twenties.  To my astonishment, he had to go and find a calculator.  Why did we bother moving to decimal currency? Continue reading

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Getting checked out

Not unnaturally, the CMA wanted to be sure that I was OK to do the Ride London 100 given that I’m not only one of their supporters but also a cardiomyopathy patient. Continue reading

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Cardiomyopathy

CMAAt the age of 42, a company in the US for which I was doing some work decided to take out Key Man Insurance on my life.  Part of the application routine in the US is an EKG (ECG to us in the UK) and I remember a paramedic coming to the office near DC and fixing electrodes to my chest while I lay on the boardroom table. Continue reading

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Prudential Ride London 100

Prudential Ride London Surrey 100This is my first post about my involvement in the biggest UK cycling event this year. Whether you like cycling or not, you’d have to have been living on another planet to have missed the resurgence of British cycling last year, with Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France and gold at the Olympics, and all the other British successes of Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish and a host of others. Continue reading

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Petty Bureaucracy

arthur-stainesWe’re all well used to being told that we can’t do this or that because it would contravene Health & Safety.  This little story that was picked up as a footnote in the national press shows that Data Protection is hot on its heels as a standard trump card to end any debate with those in petty authority. Continue reading

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Whatever next?

I know that assistance dogs can be trained to a very high standard, but I never knew they’d come this far…

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Pompey 0 – County 2

This weekend I enjoyed the opportunity to see my team without having to make a 350-mile round trip, especially as they dumped Pompey out of the FA Cup in the first round!

Favourite song of the afternoon (apart from two celebratory renditions of The Wheelbarrow  Song of course)?  Answer – to the tune of Yellow Submarine – “We’re all sitting in a future block of flats, a future block of flats” etc.

The only downer was drawing Rotherham in the second round :-(

 

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Urban growth: threat or opportunity?

This article at Smart Planet I found to be thoroughly depressing.  While it suggests two alternative outcomes, my fear is that it’s the dystopian one that will come to pass.   Continue reading

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Work Life Balance

It’s hardly contentious to say that a healthy work life balance is a good thing.  Why then do I feel myself bristling whenever I hear the phrase ‘work life balance’?  Quite simply, it’s a matter of perception – where is the balance point? Continue reading

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Interactive Democracy

I caught up with some old friends from Emmaus Hampshire the other day, and the conversation came around to social injustice, and whether the world ever would change for the better.  That’s right – three grumpy old codgers solving the world’s problems!

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