Friday, February 13, 2009

End of an Era

I am ditching this blog.

I've moved to Wordpress:-

So, come visit me there, update your links and adios Blogger.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A week of weather

England has been proudly displaying its capacity for weather this week. And I have been alternately revelling in it and reviling it.

On Monday, I woke to vast (for the area I live in) amounts of snow. At first, I thought it would melt away by the time I was ready for work, but over breakfast I watched snow falling and swirling outside.

At 0813 hours, my boss telephoned me. Standing at my bedroom window, I gazing out at the white street and mulling about whether I could - or should - cycle to work. He informed me he had been trying to get to work since 0700 hours (weirdo) and that he was now going to turn around and go home. He asked how I was going to make my way to work and I blithely informed him I might cycle, or walk. Soon.

I and my partner made our way - on foot - through the snow-covered streets. A bus was abandoned at the end of our street. People were milling about everywhere: pegging snowballs at each other; sliding along the ice; laughing and marvelling at the snow; and building snow men. Everyone grinned at everyone else.

We were set free from work early, but already the snow was melting away from roads and pavements. Still, snow continued to fall and it flurried around my face. I know now what a flurry is: gorgeous.

On Tuesday, I expected to wake to slush. Instead, I woke to snow still on the ground and more snow falling. This was more fabulous than I could possibly imagine.

I walked to work again, but things were a little dour. The world was less crisp and the snow more dangerous. The sky was grey. The streets were quieter. The fresh snow fall lay on top of ice, so was rather slippery, but interestingly crunchy, underfoot.

At 1000 hours, I rang my boss to find out whether he was going to make it into work. In the background, I could hear his son; he had tried and failed.

On Wednesday, I expected to wake to slush. I did wake to slush, but there were still minor bits of snow about the place. I decided to cycle into work because the roads looked reasonably non-icy.

Elsewhere in England, it snowed. Where I live, the sky dumped gentle sleet. (Yes, it's possible. I had not thought this was possible because the only sleet I had ever experienced before was on top of Mt Russell in Tasmania. That sleet was mean, horizontal and very painful, like some throwing a million needles at you. Wednesday's sleet was not so sharp. More like slivers of soft hair whipping your face. It was okay.)

Then, it hailed; again, gently. The balls of ice were very little (and rather cute). Again, I have only experienced nasty hail - the kind that bruises heads and smashes windscreens. After the hail, came some more snow but, somehow, lacking in conviction.

At 0930 I rang my boss who was still trying to get to work. He decided to keep trying and eventually got in at about 1100. He should not have bothered.

On Thursday, I woke to rain. Lots and lots of rain. I kitted up in all my rain gear and cycled into work. By the time I got in, my cheeks were frozen (not quite literally but it sure felt like it). This was the first time the rain had been so cold. I thought, I can take this. This is fine.

Snow was but a distant memory. Strange clumps of ice and dirt were the remnants of Monday's joyous snowmen artistry.

My workmates laughed (not cruelly) as I trudged into the office. I huddled beside my radiator to thaw out.

My boss beat me to work that morning.

On Friday, I woke to rain. Here we go again, I thought, grimacing as I pulled on my waterproof trousers.

Inexplicably, between the time of putting on my trousers and wheeling my bike outside the rain had cleared. In its stead, a wind came along. A horrid, icy head wind that made cycling rather unpleasant indeed. At least, a head wind means a tail wind home (I thought).

My boss did not come into work; he had booked the day off as annual leave.

At 1030, I watched rain, hail and snow beat up against my office window. My thoughts strayed to the trainee in my department who had, unfortunately, chosen the worst half hour to take the 20 minute round trip to court. She came back looking remarkably chipper; rosy cheeks suit her smooth, porcelain white skin.

I cycled home, in a head wind. This was the height of unfairness and I was oh-so tempted to circumvent the big hill and go home the wrong way down a one-way street. Ultimately, I decided not to (partially because I was complaining inside my head so much I forgot to not cycle my normal route home). I thought about walking my bike up the hill, but as I started climbing (it's a roughly 30 degree grade over about 200 metres), another cyclist was pushing her bike. Enough to spur my competitive edge, I grunted and huffed and sniffed my way past her.

So ends my week of weather. Weather is predicted for the next few weeks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

On My Own

I'm back to writing on my own again.

The second writing group I joined has now disintegrated. Perhaps this means I will feel freer to write about the people in the writing group. Usually, I came away from writing group with the urge to write about my fellow writing groupies, but am restrained by a combination of niceness and fear; fear that they may come to this blog and read my mean thoughts about them.

They are all very nice people; they are just full of neuroses or loneliness or, in the case of one incandescent individual, complete madness (seriously, he was involuntarily admitted to psychiatric hospital).

As I am, I suppose (full of neuroses and/or loneliness). Although I'm pretty sure I'm not certifiable.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Year!

I do not make public New Year's resolutions. I make private promises to myself. This year, I'm going public.

A friend informed me that a former boss "found" my piece in Growing Up Asian in Australia, so she directed him (with my permission) to this blog.

(Hi - you know who you are Former Boss - if you're reading this now. No need to say 'hi' back...)

I spent some hours re-reading past posts and am a little saddened that so many of my earlier posts read so much better than my recent posts. They seem more thoughtful, more insightful, more thinking (which I think is different to thoughtful). I need to re-capture them.

So that's Resolution Number One: Write More and Write Better
(Although I'll be happy with the 'more' bit and will leave the 'better' bit to fall into place. If there's a lot of chaff, eventually there's wheat, right?)

I've not really got off to a good start, but I'm a battler and I ain't giving up.

Resolution Number Two is a bit mundane: Sleep at Regular Times on a Weeknight.

Which leads nicely to Resolution Number Three: Arrive at Work around 8.30am.

I've been doing very poorly on both these fronts but that's gonna change, I swear.

Resolution Number Four: this year, REALLY, is the year I Wear Contact Lenses. This has been my New Year's resolution (even though I say I don't make them, I LIE) for the last, hmm, 5 years or thereabouts. Seriously, 2009 is the year. I'll update you on that one.

chuc mung nam moi, friends.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The temperatures have been sub-zero in the last few weeks (though it has now warmed up again).

This has been quite exciting, although cycling into work in the mornings is hard.
Actually, getting up in the mornings is hard. My bed is nice and warm. My house is reasonably warm. I even have underfloor heating in the bathroom and in a defiant burst of extravagance programmed for it to come on and warm the bathroom floor on weekday mornings.

All encouragement to get me out of bed when it is minus 5 outside is welcome.

My main gripe with sub-zero temperatures is that it is not snowing. Surely, if it is sub-zero, then it must snow. Surely, this is the way things are. There can be no other way. But no, no snow. Every morning, lots of frost but no snow.

I went for a long(ish) cycle ride on Friday and for mere moments, snowflakes fell onto my nose, causing me to go cross-eyed so I could see them. I held out my tongue to see if I could catch a few. I could not.

I wonder what the cars coming in the opposite direction thought of brightly coloured me, cycling along, tongue out like an overheated dog. Another mad cyclist?

The other mad cyclists who bicycle commute into work or school/uni of a winter morning all look pretty happy to me. I tend to be smiling as I cycle along - I love cycling in the cold - and my fellow cyclists seem equally chuffed.

I wear three pairs of socks: tights, a thin liner sock, a thick outer sock.
I wear four layers of tops: a singlet/vest, my workshirt (usually a knit or jersey 3/4 or long sleeve top), a fleece jumper and my wind&water-proof cycling jacket.
I wear two layers of bottoms: tights and corduroy trousers.
My neck is wrapped in a red or green scarf and a 'buff' that I fashioned by cutting up a pair of old trackie-dacks (tracksuit trousers / sweat pants) that no longer fit me.
My head sports a naff yellow beanie (woolly hat, touk) with ear flaps and dangly plait bits and helmet.

I am the very epitome of sartorial elegance on a bike.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.