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Just back, feeling slightly wobbly, from a two hour bike ride. It was a lot of fun, especially when the pace picked up running down the A38 from Sutton Coldfield back into the city centre. I was suffering a bit about two thirds of the way through, but we had an enforced stop when my neighbour in the pack's derailler broke off, snapping his chain. Good news for me (and the two blokes who nipped into the bushes), but pretty bad and expensive for him.
Last Thursday, I nipped out first thing to pick up my new specs. On the way back, I stopped in at Birmingham City Cycles to buy a new bike pump. While I was pumping away, another bloke (possibly the owner?) arrived. He brought out a big floor pump, inflated my tyres (which makes me think I've never ridden on properly inflated tyres before in my life), suggested my bike was too small for me, measured it in several different ways, confirmed it was, ordered me back into the shop to buy some chain lube, then as a kind of by the way, mentioned that he ran a 30 mile ride at 7 on Saturday morning and I could come along if I fancied.
I couldn't quite decide if he was being oddly friendly or mildly challenging, but after a brief consult with Natalie, she decided I should go. Thursday was also my birthday, and I'd been given some new cycling shorts and top, so clearly I had to use them. I spent Friday fretting mildly, nipping out to get a spare inner tube, one of those little saddle packs to carry it in, and so on.
I was worrying about nothing really, although I would guess that my bike was at the cheaper end of the 30 or so on display this morning. I don't wear a helmet, putting me in a minority of two, and I don't have clip-in pedals, putting me in a minority of one. Everytime the group stopped, there was this little round of click-click-clicking as everyone unclipped, and then another round as they slotted their cleats back in again. I was slightly overdressed too, and so finished up with my shell jacket stuffed down the back of my shorts.
It was odd riding in the group to begin with. I've never ridden at speed with more than one other rider, and that was years ago. In the city, you have to be very aware of your space and anything encroaching on it usually represents a danger, so it was strange to begin with. Once I'd relaxed a bit and got into the swing of things, it was really very enjoyable. Hal-baby's back at gymnastics next week, so the Saturday timetable will be a bit different, but I'll go again if I can.
'type' : forcing value to bool 'true' or 'false' (performance warning)
Performance warning, my arse.
Off out this evening to see Bob Mould and his band. It'll be good fun, I have no doubt, and I am quietly excited.
This is, I think, my first gig of 2008, which is rather a poor show on my part.
It be top. I had a super time. Set list, as ever, ranged from his early solo work, through Sugar, to his most recent album, then back to Husker Du. Surprise tonight was a very slow, very heavy version of Hanging Tree. Some of the tracks, more than I remember, had different arrangements, and he and bassist Jason Narducy even engaged in a few vocal harmonies.
Bob, although no longer the angry man was, plays with intensity and power and emotion, barely pausing between tracks. I love seeing him play live.
I've just installed Liferea and was adding all the sites I should check more often. So I came to your blog looking for RSS or Atom links, and yes, there they were - but they don't have anything in them.
So, the results,
|Clawley, Green Party||433|
|Mullaney, Liberal Democrats||2476|
The numbers don't quite add up, with more votes lost than were not cast, so it looks like the LibDems must have have picked up some of those Respect votes. I'm only an amateur psephologist, so that's about the limit of my analysis.
As noted below, the LibDems were, despite my assertion to the contrary, out leafletting. I found this out in a rather roundabout way, because Cllrs Mullaney, Cox, and Hendricks were out on their rounds when they chanced upon Hal-baby, who'd wandered off while Natalie was engaged in Moseley in Bloom conversation. Natalie and Cllr Mullaney often work together on MiB business, the street tree planting programme being a particular case in point, so he knew Hal-baby and would have brought him home had Natalie not reappeared. Not that it would have influenced my vote had I known at the time I went down to the polling station, because I voted for him anyway. On occasion, he does act like a right prat, due in large part to his personal loyalty to local LibDem big boy John Hemming. On the other hand, and why I voted for him, he's not particular bound by the party whip (in fact, I'm not even sure if politically he actually is a Liberal Democrat), his support for MiB has been wholehearted and hard working, and he's extremely accessible. If a constituent rings him up he, in my experience, responds very quickly. (I don't mean in my direct experience, but from what I've seen and heard from other people.) Finally, of course, we're in a quiz team together, where he puts aside political differences to sit alongside a former Labour Councillor, as we lord our trivia knowledge over the village.
It's a fun game, and now I never need to play it again.
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