Power napping

A while ago I read Ellen MacArthur’s inspiring book which tells some of her life story in the context of her Vendee Globe race. She truly is an inspirational person and reading the book made me aware of how often I am restricted by what I perceive to be my limitations.

One of the most extraordinary things is that Ellen MacArthur survived the race around the world on ‘power naps’, never sleeping for more than two hours and often only grabbing a few minutes at a time. Apparently it’s something to do with the quality of the sleep rather than the quantity. As someone who feels like I need at least 8 hours of sleep a night I find it difficult to comprehend. Of course, I should not knock it until I have tried it.

Following yesterday’s pathetic exertions on my new bike I have decided that I need a power nap. I will finish writing the blog later.


Note to self – do not power nap with head resting on keyboard.

Bicycles hurt

Today I rode my new bike into town and back for the first time. I can’t believe how many different muscles now hurt. Surely there should be some sort of law preventing such self-inflicted torture. It’s all very well Queen singing ‘I want to ride my bicycle’ but they missed off the verse about all the bits that hurt afterwards.

Okay, it’s evidence of how unfit I am, and I know that if I persevere it will get easier (life lessons there if you want them), but right now I am discovering muscles that hurt in places that I did not know I had. It’s not the bike’s fault. I partly blame the roads and cycle tracks for being so uneven. Bumps that cars take in their stride (figuratively speaking) feel very different when the shock is transmitted up through your handlebars and seat. (More life lessons there if you want them – does God cushion us from the impact of some of the bumps of life?). But I mostly blame myself for not taking the time or effort sooner to get up out of my comfortable seat and get some exercise.

I thought I would leave you with a pothole joke. I feel able to share it as I am an ex-lawyer. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a pothole? You swerve to miss a pothole.

I want to ride my bicycle

I have just bought a new bike.  Nothing astounding about that (except that it means I will be getting more exercise).  What intrigued me was the variety of bikes available now.  Aside from the variety of kids’ bikes and vehicles (my son was trying to persuade me to get a pink battery-powered ‘quad bike’) there are so many options:

BMX Bike, Mountain Bike, Town Bike, Hybrid Bike, Folding Bike, Battery-assisted Bike, Road Bike, Sprint Bike, Trials Bike, Unicycle, Tricycle, Tandem… it’s enough to make your head spin, never mind the bike wheels.

I have gone for a relatively modest hybrid bike, which is what happens when you cross a mountain bike with a town bike.  It’s pretty comfortable (no razor’s edge saddle like I had on an old racing bike), pretty sturdy and pretty tame.

I have to be careful though because the police are cracking down on cycling offences.  An over zealous traffic cop stopped the vicar on his bicycle. After checking the bike thoroughly and finding nothing wrong he had to let the vicar go. “You will never arrest me because God is with me wherever I go.” said the vicar. 

“Right then” (said the cop) “I’m nicking you for carrying a passenger on a single seater vehicle!”

Now all I have to do is remember what to do when I am riding it. Hopefully it’s not as easy as falling off a bike.

Breaking Murphy’s Laws

There are various versions of ‘Murphy’s Law’ going around.  It may be Murphy’s first law of inevitability: ‘If anything can go wrong it will’ or his first law of obsolescence: ‘If it jams, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway’.  There’s Murphy’s law of duplication: ‘The legibility of a photocopy is inversely proportional to the importance of the document.’  And Murphy’s law of computing: ‘The attention span of a computer is only as long as its power cable.’

Of course Murphy’s law is traditionally tested by dropping a piece of toast that is buttered only on one side.  Murphy’s law dictates that it will always fall buttered side down.  This has been scientifically tested and is not true. It does not always fall buttered side down.  A development of the theory then states that the likelihood of the toast landing buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.  Still not scientifically proven.

Murphy’s law(s) are predicated on pessimism.  They assume that the worst will always happen.  While they may be amusing, if we live our lives based on Murphy’s laws we will miss out on so much joy.  So, on Shrove Tuesday (otherwise known as Pancake Day in the UK) I have a suggestion for breaking Murphy’s law.  Instead of dropping toast, toss pancakes – because they are double-sided they always land right side up.

(unless they stick to the ceiling!).


(Blog one, get one free)

I promise I won’t normally post multiple blogs in one day, but as I on am leave for several days this week I thought I would stock up on posts now to avoid disappointment to my avid fan later.

On a visit to Colchester Castle today (well worth a visit) I was struck by the weight of Roman Chain Mail. No, not a parchment that says: “If thov fendeth not this miffive to XXV citizens thov fhalt be afflicted with the pox and bears fhall confume thy family” (or something vaguely latin and a bit leff Olde Englishe), I mean the chain mail vests that Roman soldiers would wear into battle. It weighed 40kg, which interestingly in Roman numerals makes it an XL! I reckon I’d have collapsed under the weight of it well before I saw any enemy.

The amazing thing about chain mail is that even though it is so heavy, it is extremely flexible by virtue of the way it is constructed. Each link is joined to those surrounding it and welded shut by hand. It takes ages to make. Each link is only as strong as those linked to it. You can draw from this all sorts of analogies about group dynamics and teamwork.

I won’t. I simply leave you with this story found (genuinely) in a Roman joke book (tenuous segue I know, but it’s the best I have):

A barber, a bald man and an absent-minded professor were taking a journey together. They have to camp overnight, so decide to take turns watching the luggage. When it’s the barber’s turn, he gets bored, so amuses himself by shaving the head of the professor. When the professor is woken up for his shift, he feels his head, and says “How stupid is that barber? He’s woken up the bald man instead of me.”

That joke resonates with me on many levels!

Another point of view launched into the ether

So… way later than the keen bloggers I have finally decided to air my thoughts on the web. “Why did you take so long?” I hear you ask (or was that “Why didn’t you wait longer”?). Well, to be honest, part of the reason is that other blogs I read seem so wise / funny / relevant that I was not sure that I could add anything useful to the blogisphere. And, if I am being REALLY honest, laziness is another reason – can I be bothered to keep posting?

Well, I have decided that these are not good reasons not to do anything. Laziness is just inertia with attitude (my thought for the day!). And if no-one else wants to read my blog, so what?

So what can you expect from me? I suspect that I will be posting jokes on a regular basis, perhaps the occasional philosophical whimsy, and seeing things from my point of view. I think that the following may be a good illustration.

After a three hour summing up in court the judge was almost asleep when the lawyer said, “… and that concludes the case for the defence.”

The judge was rather irritated that his time had been wasted so he replied: “Thank you, Mr Feldspar. However, after three hours of you talking I am still none the wiser.”

“Possibly not M’lud,” replied the lawyer, “but you are far better informed!”

a propos of almost nothing

This is mostly a selection of musings from the unfathomed depths of my consciousness.

Have a look at the bloggage I wrote on 23rd January. You can follow a link to it here. In particular have a look at the photo, and then compare it to this one. What’s different?

2015-02-05 11.51.56You may not be able to see very clearly, but keep looking. Something is different. It’s not the number of birds, although that is technically a difference.

There is one bird that is out of place.

The one perched on the roof ridge is a seagull not a pigeon or dove.

My daftness made me wonder why it is there. Does it want to join the club? Does it think that because there is a crowd something good must be going on so it’s joining in? Does it have aspirations to be a pigeon or a dove? Is it spying on them ready for a seagull takeover? Or was it just resting there en route to the nearest sea / refuse site?

Of course some of you may be wondering why I seem to be spending all my time watching the roof of a nearby house! It’s a house we can see from the kitchen windows of our house so I observe it naturally when washing up or making a cup of coffee (I will let you decide which I do more frequently!).

And in answer to the question I posed in my former bloggage about the birds on the roof, when we had a recent dusting of snow it disappeared from that roof before those around it, suggesting that the tiles are warmer and probably an indication that the insulation needs improving. I wonder whether insulation sellers go around after it has snowed looking for those sorts of house – it would make a strong visual selling point. [note to self if I ever become an insulation salesperson, check out house roofs when it has snowed]

And if you can apply any of that to yourself, brilliant, if not I hope you enjoyed a brief foray into the impenetrable jungle that is my mind – this was written yesterday and scheduled for today because today I am going to enjoy a day off.

Be blessed, be a blessing