Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Emergency Pastries

Don't you just hate it when you've got a meeting starting at 9am. Except you've arranged it (for your boss) so have to be there early. And it's somewhere, far, far away from where you normally work. Well fine, that's work for you. Until....your boss decides that the catering provided by the conference centre might not be of a suitable quality so there must be pastries just in case.

This is why I had to get a taxi at 7.45am to purchase emergency pastries. Of course the catering was even better than expected with a gorgeous array of dainty mini-pastries. It's a good job I have a bag full of cinnamon swirls and pecan plaits to make up for the frustration and lack of sleep!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Accidental Cycling

I'm going for a 100mile bicycle ride in just under 2months. My partner in crime is actually training so I thought I should too. I'd written up a cunning training plan (admittedly on a post-it note but I maintain it's still valid) starting with 30mile rides and gradually working up to 60mile rides.

Of course I didn't take into account that other people might be willing to go on rides with me. One of my friends said "Ooh there's a route I've been meaning to do!" Yeah, a route I've also been thinking about, but not expecting to see any time soon as it's 60miles through some fairly hilly terrain. Noone but me seemed to think this was a silly thing to do so I thought I might as well give it a go. I could always turn back if I was struggling...

It was surprisingly enjoyable. I forgotten how fun it is zooming along in the rain:) Admittedly usually I'm on a mountainbike so there aren't lorries thundering past at about 60mph but still! To begin with we had an hour of reasonable weather, then an hour of fairly heavy rain (not quite torrential but the sort of rain that gets you very wet). We got to Peebles and the sun came out, after that we had a pleasant couple of hours of quiet, gorgeous country roads up into the hills. The final hour was the hardest, we were getting back into Edinburgh but weren't entirely sure which part we'd end up in (following cycling routes can do this as you have to pay to see a map but can follow the signs for free!) We finally started seeing place names we recognised and a few miles later I was home.

The route was almost exactly 60miles and took about 5hours 20minutes including a couple of brief stops. Not bad since I thought I was totally unfit at the moment! Now I just need to do another 8 or so long, fastish rides and I'll be sorted:)

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Modern Women

So it seems I'm an old-fashioned shape.

There are occasionally articles bemoaning about how different women are now to the 50s (they only seem to concentrate on the shape, not jobs, status, salary etc. but ignore that for the moment).

Average British woman in 1951:
Height: 5'2
Bust: 37inches
Waist: 28inches
Hips: 39inches
Weight: 62kg

Modern British woman:
Height: 5'4
Bust: 38.5inches
Waist: 34inches
Hips: 40.5inches
Weight: 65kg

I am 5'2.5 35, 28, 38.5 and currently about 60kg (having put on about half a stone since starting a new job a year ago:/ ) so am pretty much and average 50s bodyshape. Sadly clothes no longer seem to be designed for people with a waist. I don't really care what "size" of clothes I wear, as long as they fit me and are comfortable then I'm happy. However I tend to have problems with trousers, and particularly jeans. If they're big enough to fit everywhere else, the waist gapes on all sides and just looks weird. 

So either I have to lose a couple of stone, and become a fashionable, un-curvy stick-type person. Or gain a couple of stone and try to ensure it all goes on my waist?

Maybe I should just wear more skirts and dresses, or only wear 50s clothes?

Monday, 8 June 2009

Cute knits

A couple of cute things I knitted. The wee mousey is for my beloved. The snail (now christened Mr. Cedric) is for my friend who is abandoning this land.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


I think music and the appreciation of music have changed a lot in the past few years. I like a lot of music and the only possible description of my tastes is "eclectic". When I was younger I would mostly listen to CDs or mixtapes. These days I mostly listen to music at my computer or on my ipod. Usually I listen on shuffle and just skip songs if they don't match my mood. The problem with this is that a lot of potentially awesome songs pass my by because I just don't give them time. If listening to an album repeatedly, it would probably be one of the less promoted songs that would stick with me. I miss that.

I don't really notice new music these days. I blame it on living places with bad radio reception. During my GCSEs and A Levels I revised listening to the radio (either Virgin or Classic FM, like I said, eclectic, one aimed at middle aged men, the other apparently aimed at retired people - based on the adverts). I enjoyed getting a musical education while working on my school education. When I went to university I was open to new music but, living in a concrete monstrosity for my first year, radios didn't work so well. I found out about lots of new music from friends (mostly punky stuff and guitary stuff I think - I'm not so good with genres).

Music advertising annoys me these days. It often seems the music industry is the deciding factor, rather than the actual musicians. Bands are plucked out of obscurity, made fashionable, teamed up with songwriters, image consultants etc. It just all seems so fake and prescribed. And then once they decide which song to make a hit, it is played everywhere pretty much constantly. This really puts me off.

These days I mostly buy older and older music - I'm going through a 70s punk phase at the moment - Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers etc. Older music just seems more valid somehow, back then it was about the music (and money, sex, drugs) rather than "Fame". The internet is good for this. Old albums are cheap and easy to get hold of most of the time.

The other side to the internet is the fact that individual songs can take hold and burrow their way into my brain. Sometimes a fairly simple song can become incredibly powerful with the addition of a video, or being able to look up the lyrics and background story. The internet is also good for people who create music because they love music for the sake of it. Talented people can share their skills for (effectively) free.

Some little things I like:

Mario Kart Love Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDBpQVhCMb8

Death Cab for Cutie, I will follow you into the dark http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=53378088

Radiohead, Creep http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsHKoJM8uv8&feature=PlayList&p=029C5534608EA6B3&index=0

Nizlopi, JCB http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIpKiSMkvpI

Ben Folds, The Luckiest (sadly without a pretty video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cwlL9tZo30

Actually looking for these links, it seems I only like songs with beautiful videos?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Star Trek

Star Trek makes a lot more sense when the sound is working.

Our first trip to see Star Trek was last Wednesday. We went to our little local cinema, paid our money and went in. The sound seemed a little odd from the start but we just assumed it was meant to be like that to add atmosphere. It gradually worsened until the only thing that could be heard was the music. No voices. Quite disconcerting when there is obviously a lot of plot explanation and back-story elaboration going on and you have no idea what they are saying.

About 20minutes into the film it became obvious it wasn't going to improve despite a couple of people going to complain so we walked out. We did get our money back and a pair of complementary tickets but it was still annoying. Apparently they have an intermittent problem with the lazer that reads the sound. So the high and low bands were fine but the middle one (where most speech falls) wasn't.

We went to a different cinema last night to try again. Sadly this was a mainstream cinema, much more comfortable, much better sound and a much bigger screen. We'll use the complementary tickets but I don't know if we'll bother going back to the little local cinema again.

Star Trek was good but I felt somewhat confused in places despite having watched a lot of the TV serieseses when I was younger (about 12/13ish probably). For most of the film I thought the Romulans were just kind of queasy looking vulcans. Noone actually said they were different for ages. I kind of got the impression the film was made for more hardcore fans.

Also it seems that in the future, women aren't allowed to wear trousers. I just don't see the practicality of mini-skirts on a warspaceship. Surely with all the buffeting around and fighting people are going to see up it? And where do they keep their spare change? I didn't see any handbags!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Edinburgh Nocturne

This will have to be a short post as I'm going out shortly to watch Star Trek (hopefully we'll actually get to hear it this time too!!)

I went to the Edinburgh Nocturne on Saturday. I thought it was kind of false advertising actually given it finished about an hour before the sun went down so was more afternoonal than nocturnal. It was fun though. The circuit was somewhat insane. I have no idea how they managed to convince Edinburgh council that it would be a good idea to close of a few busy streets in the centre for a day so people could cycle quickly in circles. It was quite amusing seeing a variety of hen* and stag parties wandering into what is usually a Saturday night drunkard's paradise and being faced with crowds of happy cyclists.

The youth race was pretty frightening. Most of the entrants looked about 17 or 18 and like proper pros, but then a few couldn't have been more than 10 or 11. I wouldn't dare go that fast over cobbles on my roadbike never mind a race bike with anorexic tyres.

In most of the races it was really hard to tell who was winning. Each lap was about 2minutes for the fast guys so with the number of people racing it was quite hard to tell who was winning and who was being lapped. The Elite race, the Garmin team broke away fairly early on and stayed in front until the end. I only found out today that the winner was David Millar of Tour de France fame. Sadly his team mate got pushed to third by a valiant effort from someone or other on the last lap.

The most fun race was of course the folding bike race! The competitors started 30m away from their bikes. They had to run to their bikes, unfold them, then do 3laps of the course. And they were all wearing office attire:)

Sadly Rapha's gorgeous team outfits (black with flashes of pink) has made me want one of their caps. Not because they're the "performance headgear" and "the perfect addition to the well-dressed cyclist's wardrobe" but just cos they're pretty. They're also quite expensive. I bet they'd be awesome for clubbing though. Keep me cosy on my way home on the cold winter nights? Yes? Anyone convinced I need one?

*The most intriguing was a woman on her own, wandering about, obviously sober, looking for her friends. She was very...um, "fit" is the only way to describe it. High white ribboned heels, white hotpants, a sailor-style top and sailor-style hat. Blimey. Less on show than the majority of the cyclists (lycra doesn't leave much to the imagination) but much more eye-catching!