Sunday, August 24, 2008

Plans for something of a lifestyle change

Above is a picture of the gorgeous Cytronex Trek. (Thanks to Mark Searles of Cytronex for spotting my error in the original post.)

Hmm, maybe it's the Olympics, maybe it's following Kevin Tofel's occasional blogging/ twittering on cycling, I would like to think it's also a concern for the environment, that has prompted me to consider a new method of getting to work. The week after next I am to start worth for a different charity from the one I currently work for.

There will still be a base in Penzance where I am currently based, but 1.5 miles further out of town. There is just one bus in the mornings and practically none in the evening that would help to get me home by even 8pm. I have been catching the bus and walking for 15 minutes to get to work currently. If I were to continue this in my new job I would have to walk for 30t minutes. Not a problem in itself but in bad weather a bit of a chore which includes several hills.

The lifestyle change is my decision to take to two wheels. I have blogged about my trip on my mate Taff's Triumph Bonneville and it was something I enjoyed enough to consider buying a 125cc motorbike. On reflection I decided that I would be safer travelling at 15mph rather than 50mph. Also I have been putting quite a bit of weight on (hard to believe on this gazelle like frame I know). Cycling occurred to me as an ideal alternative alternative. By cycling I could get exercise at a more manageable 15 miles per hour.

There are downsides to this cunning plan. Cornwall hasn't been the land of sunshine it has been in previous years and we don't get all the luscious greenery that covers this beautiful land without paying the price. Rain and wind are a common combination in West Cornwall and the route to Penzance from home is exposed to the coast. I will have days when I really won't want to saddle up but doing things you don't really want is character building, so I'm told.

Whenever I feel like exercise I normally lie down until the feeling goes away. So, on the surface, this does look like a plan setup to fail.

On the positive side, I have carried out exercise in order to get to work for a few years now. In St. Austell it was up to 30 minutes from train to office, as part of a car, train and walking route; in Penzance a bus then 15 minute walk - it is becoming clear 15 minutes is not sufficient to keep on top of things.

Now for the cunning part of the cunning plan. Having examined all of the options I had two routes that I could go. One was folding bikes, that I could carry on the bus and use at the far end; the other was a standard bike. The folding bike in itself would be enough to reach work but not a huge amount of help if I missed the bus, I couldn't see myself making the hills out of the village. While researching the folding option, I came across AtoB magazine ( ) and this alerted me to the latest developments in pedal assisted bikes. Pedal assisted is a term for electric bikes and these have come quite a long way it seems, far enough to have a number of distinct advantages ( ).

I have ruled out an electric folding bike, now that I have had a chance to see what full bikes can do. There are a number that are reported to have the power and range to take me, with me peddling too, to Penzance without raising a sweat (that has yet to be proven).

I won't bore you with all the bikes I have tried, save to say that there is a budget involved here, so sporty bikes with names like Pedelec are outside of my scope. The limit on price is set by the government and I am pleased, as I might not have spent an age looking before I found the bike for me.

What I now need to do, is get to Winchester to visit Cytronex at their shop. I hope to do this when passing there on holiday in early October. (For anyone interested in having a trial of this bike, Cytronex do have a booking facility on their website to be able to try one out in Winchester - I shall be doing so nearer the time.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

All this rain and chilly weather gives thoughts of warmer climes


I have lived in Cornwall all of my life (so far) and I do love the place.  I love it's beautiful countryside, the coast, the moors, valleys and villages; it's history, especially the people and it's seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

What I don't love so much is it's out of season weather.  We are in August already and to date the taste of summer has had a distinctly autumnal flavour.  While I am not a sun worshipper, I have far too many moles for that (plus none of my devices have outdoor screens), I do like everything to be in it's season.  Being able to travel to work under blue skies is one of those pleasures I do enjoy, walking along in shirt sleeves when so much of the year requires fleeces and/or wet weather gear is beginning to grate.



What I need, what I have been thinking more and more about, are the times we have spent in Corfu and Cyprus.  DSCN1270

In both locations it has firstly been about the people; what enabled us to make the most of our time was the good weather.   Yes, we were on holiday but even after working our friends could come home knowing that they had time to enjoy the rest of the day outdoors.  The photos here are of Cyprus, as our Corfu ones are on a different computer, but they illustrate my point. 

Admittedly we have been to Corfu a number of times in September, when the weather is known to turn decidedly wet but it's expected.   Spring and summer bring the weather for pleasure.


Cyprus I am ready to admit can be extremely hard for people not used to intense heat but, again, it is to be expected.  Hot and dry or cold and wet, hmm.

We will be visiting our friends, Sarah and Jim, in Cyprus again this year and it is this thought that is keeping me going in these water filled days.  If only I could taker some of it with me to relieve the pressures of that sun soaked island.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More of London and a quick whizz to Southsea

DSCN1397 DSCN1395Here are a couple of photos featuring Cathy, Chris and Taff and then me, Chris and Taff (to show I did go too). 

The above shots were when walking along the Southbank in London.

We had such a wonderful day and I have said it before but it bears saying again, whenever we have a really great time it is invariably due to the company we are keeping at the time. 





DSCN1389 This is the recreation of Shakespeare's Globe theatre and somewhere I do want to visit to both see behind the scenes and to see a performance.  Maybe next time; the trouble is with London there is so much to see.

I have been to London a dozen or more times in the last couple of years and have never found enough time for everything that catches my eye.  I think the secret in part is to mix the free with the paying, especially as the costs of staples such as heat, food and shelter rise ahead of salaries (for those of us fortunate enough to be in paid employment).






Left is a shot of Chris and I waiting for (don't tell anyone) donuts.  Right is how we felt about our imminent dietary sinning.

Well, you can't travel for an hour from Surrey to Southsea to the seaside fair and not pig out.

It was an excellent trip, thanks in the main to the company, my mate Taff's insistence on doing all the driving and in part to the fact that he has the most gorgeous luxury car.

Malaysia Week at Potters Field in London

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While wandering around London on Saturday 2 August 2008 we came across a celebration of all sorts of things Malaysian.  Above is a recreation of a Malaysian wedding and the main figures above are the bride and groom.

It was located adjacent to City Hall and Tower Bridge, see photo top left after this.  At the end of the day they had a fashion show with amazing examples of batik - painted silk as I understand it.  The evening actually crowned the day.


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Saturday, August 02, 2008

The London Artist

The London Artist
Originally uploaded by Phil(hellene).

I was very impressed. George Fanshaw has been resident artist at Hays Galleria for the last 16 years.

About Me

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Cornwall, United Kingdom
A married Cornishman who is getting an inkling of what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for the NHS. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]