Riding Solo

Its less than two weeks now until I do my cycling challenge, riding 35 miles in The Great Kent Bike Ride.

I will admit that at the beginning of this month I had a bit of a wobble about it. Its because we still do not know if Rob will be recovered from his shoulder injury in time. Gah, its so frustrating! He still has not got the go ahead from the hospital to start cycling again after 10 weeks!

So I was being a bit of a Debbie Downer, thinking shitty, over dramatic thoughts like “how comes every time that I get my hopes up about something, it never works out for me?” etc and generally being a self indulgent one women pity party. I also didn’t train for two weeks.

Thankfully, I snapped out of it. And after asking everyone under the sun if they would like take Robs place to no avail, I have decided to do it on my own.

So yeah, I am going to be brave and ride alone, and hope that I will not get lost on route! (Im planning to just follow the crowd, that is if I can keep up with them, of course!)

My main concern about going it alone is who the hell is going to hold my bike for me when I go to the toilet? I guess I am going to have to rely on the kindness of strangers for that one! As I said to Rob – “its alright for you men, you can hold your bike with one hand and your **** with the other hand!” Rob reassured me that this is an organised, civilised event, with plenty of portaloos on route and snack stations to refill my water bottle etc. Phew!

As per usual, I have panicked and left everything to the last minute with my training! I have been out riding once a week around my local park since April, clocking up around 10 – 14 miles each session. But not done anything this month! I now need to push it up to 20 miles and get out more frequently.

I have also done the majority of my training on my own, as I could not find anyone to train with, and my work colleague only came out with me 1.5 times (she went home early on the 2nd session as she felt sick!)

In a way though, training on my own has been good. Rob pushes me too much and confuses me with too much technical information about gears and stuff (its like a driving lesson with your Dad, it never works! And you never listen to you OH!) On my own I have been able to go at my own pace and learn and improve as I go along. And I have got to know a few of the regular dog walkers in the park!

To encourage me to do the ride Rob has treated me to some new fancy pants cycling bib shorts (again causing more toilet concerns for me, but I won’t bore you with them!) that have some super-duper padding in them, so that I will feel like a pro (I hope) and not walk like John Wayne for the next few days afterwards! (I really, really hope!)

I have also bought myself a new bike. Yep, I own two bikes now! Its a cheap secondhand road bike which I need to learn how to use. We bought it from a local company who refit and restore old retro road bikes. Alas, mine is not a cool, vintage, retro, hipster type bike, its another recent Halfords model. It has been serviced, cleaned, has a new chain, stem, brake pads, tires and some other important parts that I cannot remember fitted. More importantly its recycling and supporting a small business and a good cheap way of getting a decent bike!

Its me at the Cyclopark in Gravesend yesterday!

Its me at the Cyclopark on my new bike smiling awkwardly in Gravesend yesterday!

Road bikes are better for riding on roads apparently! Who’d a thought, eh! Rob was going to put some road tires onto my mountain bike for my ride, because according to him I would have less friction and go faster etc (ha!). But I decided to take a punt and invest in a road bike, as I definitely want to do more cycling events like this in the future. If I cannot get on with the curved handles and the different riding position, I will just sell the bike on. At the end of the day, I will still be better off than if I had hired a road bike to try out etc.

So anyway, please don’t feel obliged to, but if anyone fancies throwing some of their hard earned pounds at me for encouragement and to support a charity raising money for vital hospital equipment, here is my Just Giving page! (Well technically its Robs, and was meant for the both of us, but now its just for me! – You know what I mean!)

The Ever Evolving Shelves Of Kitschen Glory #3

I have lots of blog posts planned to publish. I just need to actually write them first!

For the next few weeks my blog will be a bit higgledy piggledy, as I publish whatever is on my mind and floating my boat. There will be no schedule (is there ever on my blog?) and no connection from one post to the other. One minute I will be talking vintage, the next cycling, the next personal, and then there might even be another room tour!

Yes, we are in the middle of decorating right now. After a bit of a hiatus, we* are tackling the hallway and landing. We have ordered some new flooring which is being fitted next month and Rob is sanding up a storm preparing all the woodwork on the skirting boards, doorframes and stair bannisters ready for glossing. So things are a little chaotic and dusty right now, but it will all be worth it in the end!

I guess if you have followed my blog for a while, you probably won’t notice any difference! After all I have never really had any consistency on here, lets be honest!

And now, true to form, its time to talk Pyrex!

After acquiring my latest cinderella bowls, I had to have a little reshuffle in the kitchen. Here is a photo of how things look right now –shelves 3

I think this is the happiest I have ever been with the arrangement on my kitchen shelves!

For the previous shelves of kitschen glory posts see part 2 here and part 1 here.

*By we, I mean Rob, of course. As always!

Take a Chance On Me

Some new vintage glass has entered my life recently, and for once its not Pyrex!

The stars aligned when I spotted this Chance handkerchief vase in the window of a local charity shop. It was just a shame that the shop was shut at the time! So I sent my Mother in to buy it on my behalf the next day, who, predictably, could not understand what I saw in it and why I would want such a cheap, ugly nik-nak in my house!

Thats her words, not mine! I muttered something to her about these things go for around £15 on Ebay. But of course I have no intention of selling it! hanky 1

Its hard to explain the appeal of these strange little vintage vases. After all they are not the most practical of items, being a bit of a dust trap, easy to break and no good for actually displaying flowers in like vases are meant to do. For me the appeal is in the kitschy patterns, the bold primary colours and, dare I admit it, the fact that most people think that they are ugly, old fashioned and tacky! They remind me of my favourite era the 50’s and 60’s, and of my grandparents, which is always a good thing in my book.

I was also chuffed to find one of these in my favourite colour yellow! I planned to display it in the dining room, as the predominant colour in this room is yellow, but for some reason it just didn’t look right on my sideboard. I think it was because it was displayed a bit too low. Handkerchief vases need to be displayed at eye level if you ask me, so that all their curves can be appreciated. So, for now it lives on the top of my book case in the bedroom, next to a half dead plant, as shown below.hanky 2Not that I need another collection in my life, but I would love to have a shelf of these on display somewhere in my house. For the mean time I will just satisfy my greedy, hoarding urges by just sharing a few photos of my favourite patterns and colours on my blog and looking at this guys Pinterest board!

Image from 20thcenturyglass.com

Image from 20thcenturyglass.com

image from afterglowretvro.com

image from afterglowretvro.com

Image from etsy.com via Pinterest.

Image from etsy.com via Pinterest.

Not the best quality image I know, but don't they look great together? From gumtree.com via google images.

Not the best quality image I know, but don’t they look great together? From gumtree.com via google images.

You Know You Are Getting Old When….Part 3

I honestly have no problem with ageing. Im cool with it. It doesn’t bother me one bit. I do sound a bit like I am trying to convince myself here, but I am not – honestly!

Yesterday I heard an A Level student refer to “my generation” during her interview with Steve Lamac on 6 Music, and it got me thinking – when was the last time I used the phrase “my generation”?

The answer is many, many years ago. Probably when I was a student. I guess it must be something that young people say. Like YOLO or something.

To me the term “my generation” is the feeling that you are part of a movement, in it together and can relate to each others situations.

Most teenagers and young adults are probably still living at home, are students, entering the world of work and experiencing many things for the first time. So their peers can relate to them.

But then, inevitably lives will take different paths, and generally as you get older you tend to get more guarded. You no longer relate to a lot of your peer group. And to the next generation of teens and YA’s, no matter if you are in your mid to late 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s etc, you are just classed as “old” rather than part of something. Or rather part of “my generation”.

Anyways thats enough of my rambling. Who else has The Who stuck in their head now? Or is it just me?

As I said, I couldn’t give a flying one about being older. But recently some age related little moments have made me chuckle and spurred me on to do another little YKYAGOW post!

Part 1 is here and part 2 is here if you are interested.

  • A 18 year old asked me if I had heard of MDMA. Because drugs are a new thing, that were not around when I was 18 obviously!
  • I was talking to my 21 year old work colleague about music and I told her that I used to go to a little indie nightclub in our town (that closed down circa 2003) back in the day. She replied “oh, my Dad used to go there”. Aaagggghhhh!
  • I was in the bank the other day when the over friendly girl behind the counter (who was trying to sell me everything under the sun while I was just trying to pay some money in) said to me “I like your bag. Where did you get it from?” I told her the answer and she replied “thanks, I have been looking for one just like that for my Mum”. Hhrrump! And she was not that much younger than me as she looked like she was in her late twenties. Thanks love!
  • I found myself nodding in agreement to quite a few of the things on this Thought Catalog article. Point number 13 explains my new found interest in cycling I guess!

My Birthday 2015

“So how old is Aunty Helen going to be?” said the oldest nephew as he was drawing me a Mario themed birthday picture around my parents house.

After my Mum told him the answer he replied “well, she doesn’t look it, and she rides her bike!”

I’ll take it! When you get to my age you take whatever compliments you can get. Even if they only ever come from the mouths of seven year old nephews. Bless him!

He also drew a picture of me inside my birthday card looking slightly deranged, wearing glasses with crazy eyes and holding up peace signs. So a pretty accurate then! Although, Rob did question the peace signs. He said that it would be a more realistic portrait of me if my fingers were held the other way round! The cheek, eh!mad aunty h

Now that my B.day has been and gone, its time for another little round up on here!

The day started off with a visit to the hospital for Robs physio appointment. Yes, it was a bit of a chore, but its hard to rearrange these things. And Rob was very happy to go, as apparently his physiotherapist looks a bit like Scarlett Johansson!

So my parents drove us to the hospital (as Rob was still unable to drive) and we waited for him in the car park while he took his top off in front of a Black Widow lookalike (the poor love!), then afterwards we drove onto Toys Hill near Sevenoaks for a nice walk in the woods and to climb up the highest point on the North Downs.

Here are a few snaps from our day all taken by Rob (of course). If you are planning a visit to Kent, I would highly recommend coming here for a nice walk. Its an area managed by the National Trust and very pretty and scenic.toys hill 1toys hill 2toys hill 3toys hill 4toys hill 5

Then on Bank holiday Monday, it was B.day celebrations round three for me! Rob, the parents, my sister, her husband and kids and I all went to our local park for a birthday picnic. It involved lots of food, booze, frisbees, footballs, rugby balls and bike races between me and my 7 year old nephew.

And I managed to fall off my bike and then break it in two separate incidents, what can I say, I was on fire that day!

I fell off racing my nephew up a hill, when just before I got to the top, right before it got really steep, I ran out of steam, messed up my gears, then started rolling backwards down the hill! I panicked and slammed on my brakes too hard and toppled over! I fell backwards and landed on my head and somehow managed to bruise my ankle and graze my shin quite badly on the opposite side of my body to the side I fell on???!?

I would like to make a point about how important it is to wear a bike helmet here people! I went down fast and hard on my head, and boy, was I glad that I was wearing my helmet! Always use protection, people – Its better to be safe than sorry!

My leg still hurts one week later, but I am not allowed to complain as my fall was no where near as bad as Robs. Nor am I allowed to use it as an excuse to wimp out of my 35 mile bike ride in June (which I might have mentioned once or twice on here before?)!

As for breaking my bike, I changed gear and managed to mangle my chain. We think it was a knock on effect from my fall where I must have dislodged some vital part on it or something. Rob did explain it to me, but it went in one ear and out the other. All I needed was a new chain (costing just £12) which Rob replaced for me. I was worried that I might need a new bike, but luckily the bike will live on to ride many more miles!

…Including 35 miles at the end of June!!!