Hold your horses, the boy’s gone mad

My lifestyle and physical exercise are words that really shouldn’t exist in the same sentence, that is until now.
There’s no denying the ageing process and there comes a time when you realise that there are certain things you’d like to do before the point is reached when it is simply no longer practical or even possible. Getting (and keeping) fit becomes more important as time presses on, not only for longer term health and wellbeing, but is essential if you decide to undertake a physical challenge.
Save for the odd game of table tennis this past couple of years I rarely do anything to break into a sweat (tackling the weeds with a strimmer in the two days of summer raised the temperature somewhat but was hardly a gym workout). Most of my time is essentially spent seated. When I’m not asleep (an extension to sitting down) I am usually found at my desk either working or avoiding working. If there was an award for surfing (the Internet) I’d surely be a favourite for a place on the rostrum having been online nearly a quarter of a century (since shortly after the first UK’s first dialup company Demon Internet launched in 1992).
Back in the day (as the oft used phrase has it) I was sporty, playing squash several times a week as well as five a side and full team football. That was until two of the discs in my lower back crapped out. Surgery in those days was not so sophisticated and my operation was not the success I’d hoped for. Sport was out and I still suffer from back pain on a permanent basis.

That’s the background. So what?

After my biennial trip to the USA in earlier this year I spent a few days walking in the Cotswolds with my SoftDev cohorts Vince and Dave. It was enjoyable, exhausting and painful. It was also something of a wakeup call. Covering twelve miles in a day ought to be a walk in the park (or the Cotswolds) but it felt like I’d run a marathon (not that I have, so I don’t actually know if it was like it at all).
I’d previously thought of taking up running with a view to finding out what it really was like to run a marathon and had set a goal of doing so two years after training started.

I lasted three very short runs. I hate running.

Not one to avoid a challenge I have set myself a new goal for 2017. Still using two legs, I have added two wheels in the form of a touring bike and have committed to cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats less than two years from now. LEJOG as it is known (pronounced Lee Jog) or JOGLE if you choose to bike it from North to South, is the classic UK cycle ride.

I (re)discovered I love cycling.

Before I can tackle the ‘End to End’ I not only have to get fit (and in particular bike fit) but I’ll need to complete some smaller routes such as the C2C (or Sea to Sea), The Way of the Roses and Hadrian’s Cycleway, all of which fortunately are located broadly speaking in my part of the world. Naturally those routes have to be preceded by regular and consistent training. I started training on the first day of August in a very modest way at just 10 miles per session with an average speed of around 12 miles per hour.

At the time of writing this (not quite at the end of the month) I have covered 250 miles and  have this week, increased the distance to 15-20 miles in sessions of between 1.5 and 2 hours. So far so good. ‘From little acorns’ and all that. Not to be scuppered by the impending end of season (don’t forget I’m in Cumbria where is it wet and cold) I bought a turbo trainer for indoor use, so there really is no excuse to halt my training (I might get to regret these words).

In order not to become a bike bore here (since this is my long surviving blog for random if infrequent postings) I’ll shortly be starting a blog specifically for the ‘end to end’ saga. Naturally I’ll be throwing in bits and bobs on Facebook, twitter etc but if you are remotely interested in following my progress (and hopefully the LEJOG itself) I’ll be plugging the bike blog starting in September.

Wish me well.

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Ok so I’m an audible adict

Why not try out a free book.

My favourite to date is “Ordinary Thunderstorms” by William Boyd

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Ready for take off – ok ready to taxi at least

I can’t believe it – the only thing that’s flying is time.
It is two and a quarter years since I posted to this blog and nearly two years since I flew a light aircraft. The blog thing is not a case of inertia, more a case of blog hacks and I got seriously cheesed off with it.

So I’m back on a trial posting basis as there will be lots to reveal in the coming months.

I’m also heading off to the USA soon to dust off the paperwork that comprises my pilot’s licence biannual revalidation and to fly with my aviation buddy John Speedie.

I’ll be sparking the flight simulator up in the next couple of weeks before heading down to East Midlands Airport for a medical and check ride (the start of the serious money drain).

And then I’ll be looking forward to that Rainy Night In Georgia.

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Magnificent data import (not really)

I received an unsolicited call today which illustrates some rather poor data munging

Caller: Can I speak to Mr Kirkby
Me: There’s nobody here of that name, sorry
Caller: Mr Stephen Kirkby
Me: No sorry you have the wrong number
Caller: Is that The Software Development Company?
Me: Yes
Caller: Sorry  I must have been given the incorrect personal details

Damn right she had as my postal address includes the nearest town – “Kirkby Stephen”

Caller: I’m ringing to offer you some excellent free marketing services exclusively aimed at selected companies in Yorkshire
Me: That’s handy as I am not located in Yorkshire – Goodbye …

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Blog restoration (no thanks for the hack attack)

Well I guess it is partly my own fault for not blogging since April of this year as I clearly don’t then have an eye on a ball so to speak.
Two of my wp pages were hacked resulting in a server 500 error (and obviously I have cleaned that up and upgraded wp to the latest version).
It is such a pain to have to keep control of scores of sites just to stop the hack attacks but I guess that’s the name of the game…

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Twitter Hiccup

403 Forbidden: The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it.

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More podcasts from the man and the desk

Now I am back in the saddle with regular contributions to CNIRadio you can catch up with my ramblings at One Man & His Desk – The Podcast
n the latest recording you can find out about the Gyroscopic Self Levelling Pool Table and much more.

Listen now.

Posted in Trivia and stuff, TV & Radio | Leave a comment

The LUG Slug

Is there any wonder people are put off by switching to linux (rhetorical question). How can I convince people to take a tour of the linux world when the Linux User Group (at least for the North West) is so out of date and … well quite frankly, rubbish.
I have been looking for an active linux user group in the area and here’s what I got from the two potentially closest, first Lancaster, the LUG directory entry last updated in January 2010:

Template Error: The template file must be given

And for Cumbria, the last update for which was December two years ago, it simply takes you to a page belonging to the group’s coordinator with a one-liner advertising his business.

Come on linux users – “must do better”

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Masterful thinking – so full of surprises

Seldom do I ask people to watch/listen to things on the internet (knowing that I don’t want too many reciprocal demands) but I can’t help myself here. This is my favourite TED presentation to date:


(thanks to Keith Edmunds for bringing it to my attention)

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Moody – My latest 8tracks

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