Posts Tagged With: middle-age

Hi from China! It’s all about timing…

Working for Straw Works & The School of Natural Building (SNaB) both UK based organisations, while living elsewhere in the world has some problems, one of which is timing. Until my friend Mary showed me how to use the weather app on my phone (for those of you of a certain age if you have several locations on your weather app including your own,  press the menu and your chosen locations come up on the same screen with the time alongside – really useful) I used to speculate about the time differences, which meant I was never entirely sure when something was going to happen.

For example, I had a skype meeting organised with our European partners recently. They had kindly arranged to meet at 10am their time so that it wouldn’t be the middle of the night for me. 10am UK time is 5pm for me. The only problem was that their 10am was in France which is 4pm for me. Not realising this I had welcomed in the Chinese Mr Fixit with his drill at 3.45pm my time, I hope you’re keeping up with this!

The drill started just as the skype ring tone began. Needless to say my urbane European counterparts were scathing. So much so that they’ve arranged the next meeting at my time 10pm on a Friday evening!!

Timing can be a problem for family too – note the WeChat (Chinese version of What’s App but with video) call from my sister at midnight my time, she was surprised to see me in bed!

Seriously though, there is only a small window of opportunity to actually talk to people in the UK from here and I am awaiting with great trepidation the clocks changing in a couple of weeks.

Last week was ‘Golden Week’ here in China. A national holiday when millions of people are travelling. We joined in and went to Shanghai. A fascinating city with a fusion of cultures. Here’s some pics.

img_2814  Pudong

img_2888 Night time from the Bund

img_2879 The magnificent Shanghai Grand Theatre

Categories: China, Golden Week, insulation, natural house building, natural plasters, RSA, Shanghai, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, Time differences, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized, Working abroad, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things are getting sweet ‘n sticky in the North East!

My friend Joanna Rimmer and I met on a writing course run by the poet Gillian Allnutt in Newcastle in 2004 and now Jo is a playwright!

With the help of Peter Mortimer and his Cloud Nine Theatre Company she has produced her first play, ‘Sweet ‘n Sticky.’

Sweet ‘n Sticky will be performed 10 times in North Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay where it will open the Dome Festival.

For more info see  www.cloudninetheatre.co.uk/  and plan yourselves a wonderful, summer evening outing at the theatre.

 

 

Categories: books, bookshops, Clare Balding, Cloud Nine Theatre Company, Donuts, Newcastle on Tyne, North Tyneside, plays, Playwrighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prudential Ride London

This ride took place last Saturday. It was wonderful to ride alongside the Embankment and past Big Ben on roads which were free of cars. Approx 50,000 people took part. There were 3 stopping off points – Tower Hill, St Paul’s and Green Park where kids could play bike polo, cycle like mad to generate enough power to make themselves a smoothie and/or lie in the  sun and listen to some music.

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

For the first time Al and I got to grips with the Boris Bikes which were great until the end of the day when the booking machines began to break down – I suspect due to overuse.

I almost got a picture of Laura Trott dressed in the Wiggle Honda team strip waiting for her race, but she turned her head at the crucial moment!

A great event and perhaps shades of things to come. I hope so.

St Paul's stop off point

St Paul’s stop off point

Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, cool stuff in London, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, London, middle aged women getting fit, Prudential Ride London, Travel, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cycling and pop up indie bookshops

Picked up the Easy Way Cyling map for Crawley the other day. It’s a really good, handy sized map of the town centre cycle paths. I called Kay Wagland, one of the people at the council responsible for promoting cycling in Crawley and as a result found myself invited along to a trial ride with one of the councillors. She’s the glam looking one in the pic.

IMAG0063

Also had a great ride last Saturday to Horsham – about 8 miles each way. Left Crawley through Ifield, passing The Gate pub  (where incidentally the Boom Town Rats played just recently), rode through Rusper- which is a bit hilly but manageable and down into Horsham.  The purpose of the ride was to take part in Daisy White’s Pop Up Indie Bookshop

It was a really fun day, I ran a haiku competition, met people from the Crawley and Horsham Writers Circles and I (or should I say Daisy) sold 6 of my books – result!!

 

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, haiku, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Melt Yourself Down

Yet again this is not about cycling but it is something you should know about. So here goes.

The tickets were a Fathers day present and I was included.  So last Tuesday evening we went to a gig in Islington. I write the word ‘gig’ advisedly! The band playing were called, Melt Yourself Down. I can’t describe the type of music they play, best to watch this clip to get a flavour.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p019dqxl

Despite being an older person I have to say I loved it! The venue admittedly was a bit claustrophobic and I wondered if I’d be able to stay the course. But the music was so engaging and the lead singer, Kushal Gaya so absolutely mesmerising that my worries about not being able to breathe, about where  the fire exits were, about being able to leave when I wanted all paled into insignificance. If you get a chance to go & see Melt Yourself Down I’d advise you to take it.

I have to say however I was so tired yesterday that I couldn’t even be bothered to write this blog…

Categories: blog traffic, books, cool stuff in London, jazz, London, Melt Yourself Down, middle aged women & music, music, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free book on Kindle for Bike Week

My book, ‘Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ is free on Kindle from tomorrow 15th June to 19th inclusive. UK Bike Week starts tomorrow. Click here for a copy http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee

This next bit is unrelated but I have to include it in my blog. You would too if you had the opportunity…the other evening I attended the First Woman awards and had my photo taken with Clare Balding!! She’s a very nice woman and she did a great job at the event. Also I seem to remember she did a TV programme about a bike ride in the UK, so mentioning her is not entirely out of place here.  Re the photo below, I must learn from Clare how to look at the camera!!

IMG_0154

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Kindle, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m so excited…..

I looked at the Kindle rankings this morning and saw my book was number 14 in the Kindle travel section. There are 31,445 books in that section! How cool is that?

But then, to use a ‘Pointless’ phrase, things got even more exciting, when I checked the Kindle non-fiction rankings. There are 1,090,000 books in this section and Changing gear is number 179!!!!

This is probably too many numbers for this time in the morning, so I’m going to stop now and go to the V&A and get inspired.

Thanks to everyone who has bought/downloaded a copy of Changing Gear.

Categories: books, Bulgaria, cycling, Cycling holidays, downloading, Kindle, London, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Top 200 non-fiction books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Riding in the rain

As you know we’ve recently moved to the deep South  from Northumberland and we were hoping to experience some of the fabulous weather we’d heard about.  Sun, warm breezes, blue skies etc but since we arrived, at the end of November last year, it has been raining non-stop.  No, I tell a lie, there have been one or two weeks when it’s been snowing.

Yesterday the weather was running true to form, the forecast predicted 80%  chance of rain all afternoon. Despite that info and the grey, threatening clouds my husband decided it would be a good afternoon for a bike ride, that we’d be alright and he knew a nice route to a village with a pub, about 6-7 miles round trip max.

I’m not sure why, after all these years, that I believe him but I dutifully got ready and we were on the bikes just as a gentle rain began to fall. Still it was good to be out. The villages around Crawley are beautiful and only marred by the proximity of Gatwick airport. In a 30 minute period 8 planes roared overhead like huge, menacing, mechanical birds. Despite this I was happy cycling along. The rain wasn’t bad and I was sure the 3 miles to the pub must end just around the corner. However this was not so. We’d arrived at Charlwood when my husband stopped to look at the map. He hadn’t remembered coming this way the last time he’d done the cycle ride. We looked at the map. Charlwood was off the map! We didn’t know where we were and the rain began to fall steadily. A motorist told us what route to take but warned us it was hilly. ‘No problem’ said my husband, ‘ my wife loves hills.’ Unhappily my hands were too cold to put around his neck and throttle him, so we got back on the bikes and started up Russ Hill. I don’t know how high this is, suffice to say I hadn’t expected it.

The  ride continued up and down hills in torrential rain until we finally (after 16 miles!!) spotted a sign to Rusper which had been our original destination. By then we were completely soaked so decided to leave Rusper for another day  and have a gin and tonic in a pub called the Gate just outside Ifield instead.

The pub was warm and welcoming, we got a seat by the fire where we sat and steamed gently in time to the Irish music provided by a small band to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – there’s always a sliver lining.

Categories: cycling, cycling in the rain, fitness, love, middle aged women getting fit, West Sussex, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Riding the Devil’s Triangle

Image

This was a great ride (approx 6miles) from Hotnitsa to the T junction at Resen, turn right, ride up 3 hills – the second one is the worst – long and high. Straight onto the next T junction just before the village of Samavodene. Take a right, there’s a short pull uphill then it’s downhill all the way back to Hotnitsa. The triangle is a right angled one with the 3 hills forming a sort of wavy hypotenuse.

As we rode the sun turned into a giant, red ball and bobbed about on the horizon for a while before disappearing.  I would have taken a photo if only I’d remembered the camera! However flushed with success we did the same ride again the next night and in the absence of a wonderful sunset I took a photo of Bertha standing next to the sign for the village.

Image Allan gave me the award above. I’m one of only 3 women/girls (you know who you are) to have completed the Devil’s Triangle ride  this summer.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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