Posts Tagged With: women

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

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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

Hi from China

I’m in Nanyang in Henan province in China. Allan & I are here for the next 10 months or so. We’re here because Al is teaching at the uni for this academic year.

‘Why are you there?’ I hear you ask? ‘Well, because he is and because we thought we’d like to experience another culture before it got too late and because we wanted to travel a bit.’

It’s a good question though and the answer above is a bit glib and lacks depth. Yesterday, I was moaning a bit to Clair in the Straw Works office (via skype obviously) saying I that I didn’t think I had the best personality to get the most out of this experience. Clair’s response was to suggest I wrote a blog while I was here. I think that was a ploy to stop me going on and on but I’ve decided to take her advice at face value and pick up my existing blog and give it a go.

The name of this blog is ‘Sixty on a Bike’ and it’s still relevant in that I’m still in my 60’s and the uni has given Al and I bikes to get around the campus, which is vast.

With this blog I’m hoping to give you a perspective on working for a UK company from China. Before leaving the UK I wasn’t sure what parts of my job with Straw Works & SNaB I’d be able to do from here. It turns out I can do almost everything. The only thing I can’t do is join Barb in delivering Preparing to Build with Bales one of the theoretical courses we run in the autumn & winter and I’m sad about that because it was fun to do together.

However, to kick off this first blog entry I’ll leave you with a pic of a 17 meter high Buddha – just to set the tone.

Cave carving in Louyang.

img_2672

Categories: blog traffic, haiku, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, Tiny houses, training for strawbale building, Travel, travel writing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Triathlon triumph!

I’m a triathlete! In the very broadest sense. What I mean is, I managed to complete the super sprint at http://www.theblenheimtriathlon.com/BTMaps.html

The super sprint is: 400 metres swimming in the lake followed by 13kms on the bike followed by 2.9kms running. Hope you’re impressed. However let me expand on that for you.

The Swim

I was the last swimmer in my ‘wave’ to complete the swim. It took me 20 minutes and I had the company of a guy in a kayak all the way as his job was to make sure the last one got back safely. He was a nice guy, he engaged me in quite a lot of conversation and applauded when I reached the shore.

The 1st transistion

Transition is the time taken between one activity and another to compose yourself and to change your outfit. My first transition took 13 minutes, it was only bettered by one woman who took 17 minutes!

The cycle

Was on an undulating course where the fitter competitors from ‘waves’ after mine caught up with me and shouted ‘to the right’ with unnerving regularity. What they meant was, get out of the way as I’m coming past at top speed. Sometimes it’s tricky to keep to the left especially when you’re wobbling from side to side trying to cycle uphill without falling off.

The 2nd transition

I was really slick at this one, only took 3 mins something seconds- not bad.

The run

Or rather the walk. I was so exhausted by this time that I decided I’d finish but I would walk it. However now and again I broke into a trot and towards the end when I realised that I could probably make it to the finish line in less than two hours I almost hurried.

The time

Was 1hr 56 mins and I was so pleased to have finished it and finished it under 2 hours.  Now that I’ve recovered I ‘m thinking I might do it again next year.

My daughter did the same race as me and came in at 1 hr 25mins and my husband did a race twice as long and came in at 2hrs 16. IMG_3045 IMG_3032

Categories: bike safety, Blenheim Palace Triathlon 2014, cycle rides, cycling, cycling in the rain, fitness, middle aged women getting fit, run, trek bikes, triathlon, triathlon outfits | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last chance…

In case you have a minute between now and 12 noon GMT today,  here’s where you can place a vote for Straw Works to help them get through to the last 4 businesses who will have the opportunity to ‘pitch to Rich’ (Branson that is).

Just visit http://www.virginmediapioneers.com/2013/04/vote-for-pitch-to-rich-competition-finalists/ click on Fill out my form, and vote!

Thanks.

Categories: casitas, Ecobuild, Hoildays, low cost housing, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, strawbale building courses | 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

Running & repairs

Poor Bertha’s been in the wars again. She’s had her front hub greased and generally sorted out…that’s technical talk for you! And she’s all the better for it. No longer does she shimmy from side to side while I try to propel her forward. In fact she’s acting like a proper bike. However because the weather’s been so bad she and I haven’t been out anywhere exciting. In fact we’ve only been as far as the shops. Instead I’ve been persisting with the running programme.

You remember the  NHS from,’Couch to 5k’? On Friday I’ll be on week 9 and will be running (well jogging really) for 30 minutes without stopping. Ideally during that time I’ll cover 5k. I know I’m close because we went to Goffs Park recently where there’s a 4k marked trail and I did that with a bit of time to spare.  Who would have thought it? I’m really pleased but I’m going to have to work on my self belief, as I start every run with the thought that I won’t be able to do it. Any tips on cultivating positive thinking will be gratefully received.

Which leads me to other empowering stuff… Straw Works, a company I work for is holding a 1 day introductory course to natural plasters – lime & clay, on the 20th of April.  Go to http://www.strawworks.co.uk  Click on the ‘Bale Frenzy’ button and check out ‘Getting Plastered.’ You’ll love it!

Last thought…my book Changing Gear. A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria will be free on Kindle from 5th-9th April inclusive. Click here to read it http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee    Hope you like it.

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycling, Ecobuild, fitness, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, running, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, womens cycling, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trains & bikes &…….

Just come back from a cycle trip in Varna on the Black Sea coast.  We took our bikes on the train, a first for us in Bulgaria and it was easy. For 2 lev you can put your bike in the guards van. There are no restrictions on the number of bikes per train.

We started the ride by cycling from Hotnitsa to the train station at Gorna Oriahovitsa. The ride took me 50 mins. If you’re lucky, at the station you might get to see the magnificent train which used to belong to King Boris, currently being used as a tourist train and pulled by a steam engine.

The Steam Train

Our train was not so posh but the journey was fine. Probably worth paying an extra 3lev for first class. No buffet but there are loos.

Our train

Varna is a great place to cycle especially the Sea Garden which is a huge park with statues, an outdoor theatre and plenty of cafes. The Cathedral of the Assumption in the centre of town is worth a look as is the Naval Museum where you can see a couple of  pics of ships which were built in the ‘Toon’ – Newcastle on Tyne that is. There’s also a great ride (on the rather scary E 87 it has to be said) up north to St Konstantine and Elena. There you’ll find the thermal baths with natural spring water so hot you can’t bear to stand underneath it. Have a massage provided by Nelson to complete your trip.

Cathedral of the Assumption

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Shameless self promotion…..

My book, ‘Changing Gear’ is in the top 100 of the Kindle bestselling Travel section. In fact it’s at number 76. I can’t believe it. I was browsing the section last night looking for something to download and there it was. I’m thrilled to bits.

Categories: cycling, middle aged women getting fit, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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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