Saturday, 4 January 2014

Chrimbo Roundup.

There is a number that has a one followed by a hundred zeros. It’s called a ‘Googol’. A ten to the power of a Googol is called a ‘Googolplex’ and as units go, it’s a biggie. Now then, if you were to add up all the elementary particles (protons, neutrons etc) in the accessible universe you’d have a figure that was twenty or so decimal places short of a Googol and absolutely nowhere near a Googolplex. So, why have such bigger than astronomical numbers? Well, it’s simple; the reason why such cosmotical digits exist is to calculate exactly how many calories I consumed on Christmas Day.

I stuffed so much booze, sweets and turkey that I was on the verge of my own critical mass. I was a single delectable wedge of chocolate orange away from a fatal implosion. Loose objects got stuck in my own personal gravity. It was funny at first but then a fart failed to exit me with the required escape velocity and became trapped in a geostationary orbit just under my nose. For six hours all I could smell were semi-digested sprouts. Worse thing was I don’t even remember eating any! The aroma brought a tear to my eye which because of the gravity was now tidal and kept going in and out.
Density also had mothers “let’s see how much ingredients we can stuff in here” chrimbo cake on its side. I’m not saying it is compact but it manages to stay warm by a raisin fuelled self sustaining fission reaction.
a chocolate covered black hole waiting to happen

By Boxing Day though, all was calm. Gravity had returned to normal, the elastic in my pants had stopped making funny noises, I was no longer on the ‘at risk’ diabetes chart, I’d finished washing the dishes, I was nearly sober and the toilet enamel was lighter by several layers.
By the end of Boxing Day the kids had finished opening all their prezzies and when they enquired where the rest were, they were told they had about as much chance of getting more as Daddy had of seeing his toes again this side of summer.
Cheeky feckers! I still can’t work out how they got so many gifts. Clearly, Santa must have got the lists muddled up again. The only plus side to a mountain of boxed rewards was that while they were covering the floor with wrapping paper, (and for nearly five whole minutes afterward), they weren’t fighting or yelling at each other. This cessation of hostilities, this venture into No Man’s Land, this fragment of peace alone was worth the build up.
Talking of presents, me’n’the missus did alright as well.
Well, we are awesome!
Baby Jesus got gold, frankincense and myrrh but I got way more than him. I had quite a few aiming for the number one spot. A new bell for the bike, choccy, smellies, a hand knitted banana cosy.....yeh that’s what it was, what else could it be? (no I’m not posting a pic).....some new clothes, more choccy, more smellies and several rather fine bottles of fizzy over-priced vino. 
The best of which was a Moet 2004 Grand Vintage. It scored an impressive 9.5 corks which considering the scale only goes up to five made it even more special. The only let down was how quick it got me plastered. I was barely a pint in when I realised the lights on the tree didn’t have a ‘spin’ setting. It crept up on me like a stealth ninja in ballet shoes. My all time fave, Veuve Clicquot, would never dream of doing that and is much more polite. It prefers to gently enquire well beforehand on whether sir would like to spend next few hours giggling like an idiot before retiring.

and boom! you're pissed

All thoughts of getting squiffy have been put on hold for January as we undertake ‘Dryathlon’. I’d love to say we are doing it for charity but the simple truth is our livers (and bank accounts) are still dealing with the backlog. Normal service will be resumed in February, promise! Hopefully by then, the Easter Eggs will be hitting the shelves!! 

I love Christianity.

Same time next year?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Too Wet To Rain.

Last night was not for the fair weather riders like Gary, (who I believe was having his vajazzle touched up). Only the toughest and burliest of men were brave enough. Those magnificent heros were me,obviously....kind of goes without saying actually, I can't believe you asked really. Others included Wet Suit Sam, Crusty Crab Kyle, Scuba Shim and Nautical Dan.

lighting up time

The rain had started well before the strictly adhered to 7:30pm start rule but our set off was delayed by the salmon crossing The Royal's car park to get into the snug where it was a bit drier. The route was to be another jaunt into Chinley but via Roych Clough this time. 
why do we do it? I dunno

As we ascended towards South Head I put my attack plan into action. By leading the ride from the back I could dictate the pace and bide my time before an explosive finish. However, I needed a cover and also a cover as the rain really wasn't letting up. I deployed my legendary tactic of looking totally knackered and falling off the back. It worked a treat and the others were soon miles in front of me. They were playing right into my moist and clammy hands! To keep up the pretence I made all sorts of grunting sounds to add to the illusion of a rider completely out of condition. I'm a method actor like that. Visibility was at best, piss-poor and the mog and fist were so thick that Shim found it easier to aim his light backwards just to see where he'd been. 
The descent into Roych Clough was a twitchy bum affair. It's got really loose in places and slippier than an eel in a grease factory. With so much sideways-ness I stopped midway down just to check my tyres were still inflated. 
Climbing out of Roych I accidentally pulled the pin and passed Kyle and Dan who had started in front of me. I glided up the hill like a meth-fuelled mountain goat. This made Kyle maaaad and he unleashed so much torque that his chain snapped. Rather than face a long wet walk home I stopped and fixed his chain and agreed not to embarass him on any more inclines. Once gathered at the top, Dan borrowed my pump to make his wheels float better. It didn't work and we tip-toed down to the road into Chinley. Gravity favoured the foolhardy and Sam's 'muddy gully pinball technique' was as audacious as it was unintentional.

just take a moment to absorb the vista
With trench-foot now much in abundance we rode through Chinley towards Green Lane and the back breaking climb to Overhill Road. Once again I feigned a lack of fitness and mock-gasped for air as the others departed my view.

Several years later I got to the top and headed back toward Peep-O-Day Farm. It was here that my cunning plan was suspected by former roadie Dan. He contemplated a similar plan and falsified a crash by throwing himself over the bars in the biggest puddle he could find. This counterfeit stack was very convincing and I've no idea where he got the fake blood from. From here on in it would be me and Dan at the back waiting, waiting, waiting for the right time to pounce, or should that be ponce? Either way, the trail was running out and I planned in my head (for a change) the Campsite Run as my explosive finish of opulent magnificence. However, Dan's light had the final throw of the dice and packed in just before the start of the downhill. Rather than certain death, Dan opted to take the road route back to the car park. Shim, Sam and Kyle had now cottoned on to the fact that I was about to unleash a mountian bike fury of awesomeness in their faces! and that they were piss wet through. So instead, we all surrounded Dan on the road and lit him up like a 6foot plus fairy on a Christmas tree, with me heroically leading the way.

Vital stats: a snip under 11 miles, a vasectomy under 1000ft of climbing, a light trim over 2 hours
Conditions: couldn't see the conditions for all the rain.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Second Coming.

Oh what a night! It shall be etched bold in legend wherever men revel and quaff. For tonight, I would be riding my bike in anger (and also the Peak District) for the first time since last October. It was time to commence "Operation: lets see what this wrist can do". Six brave souls braved the warm, dry and dusty conditions with immense bravery  to complete the bravest comeback ride of the century, Ben Creed's "Chinley Double". This was the ride that broke me all those months ago. The fearless immortals were myself, Rik Ety, don't call me digger Chris, Sam Timenextweek, John Walsh'n'dry and newbie Craig Bonanza.
behold their magnificents!

The Royal had never seen such pinnacles of men in its car park. We were apon steeds the likes of which have only ever been seen before in the most grandest of Halfords. The rigorously adhered to "7:30pm start" rule meant we were away at precisely 7:40 on the dot. With lights charged and brows furrowed we ventured forth towards the Sett Valley Trail. It had clearly been a while since the others had been in the presence of one so awesome as myself and I could tell straight away that they were out to impress me. They'd show off by sprinting up the trail, leaving me far behind. At each gate in the trail we would bunch up like an accordion and as I began to pedal away they would fly past me once again. I knew they were showing off for me so to save them any embarrassment I pretended to be hopelessly out of condition. I managed to sustain the act for the entire ride. I care that much!
The first climb up past the quarries was a slow affair and as the road turned to track it became obvious that the lack of mud had turned the stones into marbles. Once up to speed, stopping and turning would be ambitious at best. That would have to wait though. First we had the tarmac descent to Dolly's Lane and the near vertical climb back up to Overhill Road to deal with. Again I hung back giving the illusion of a rider who was totally knackered at this stage. When I did get to the top I discovered mutiny in the rank! Chris, Rik and Sam were scared of the marble alley that lay before them and were positively cacking themselves at the prospect of an all out full frontal assault to the top of the peak. They opted for a more leisurely route while the real men tackled the wheel slippage and back breaking grassy climb with nothing but a few cows to cheer them on.
yes Chris, you're not as manly as me!

Once at the top the only way was down, hurrah! and with the elegant grace of a moped on ice we pootled down to Peep 'O Day Farm. There was dust, there was a smell of burning brake pads, there was the warmth that only comes from glowing discs, there were squeals of brakes and squeaks from bums. It was romantic really.
However, next up was the descent to the campsite and then the campsite run itself. You could smell the fear!
Sam stealthily shitting himself

One by one we tip toed down.
suddenly the memories return *parp*

Half way down and the trench that had put me on biking hold for 11 months came into view.
this at speed, I don't think so

"Holy crap! no wonder I crashed" leaped to mind but there was no time to think. I had to use every single available inch of my skill (so about 29mm in metric then). It wasn't much but I navigated my way down without breaking any bones. Go me!! We then came to the final stretch, the campsite run. I'd not been down in a long time and my line choice reflected that. I accidentally took the harder left-line by the tree but somehow stayed upright and rode out the other side intact. *insert your hero comment here*. I even got some massive air off the bumps in the trail. I must have been 3 maybe 4 inches off the ground, both wheels and everything! A steady stroll back to the Royal ensued and we all agreed on how awesome I'd been. While this is true, I can't take all the credit, just most.
home sweet home

Roll on next week!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bubbles On A Budget

I like champagne….a lot. I also have virtually zero disposable income. This presents a quaffing conundrum if you’re a posh at heart pleb like myself. However, there are ways of indulging in the scrumptious sparkling sauce that don’t require selling a kidney.

Firstly a quick word on Prosseco. IT IS NOT champagne. It isn't even a champagne substitute. For one, Prosicko comes from a different country. It uses different grapes AND a different production method. Comparing the two would be like trying to twin Yorkshire with Dubai.

To make champers you need classy grapes like pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier. To make Poosucko you just need cold piss and a soda stream. Even Lambrini considers itself a rung up the liquor ladder.

I only came in for some milk

The big myth is that champers is expensive. Like all things you get what you pay for but you really don’t have to spend an epic amount to get a good one. A bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal is about £130 but a bottle of Louis Roederer Brut is only £30. Both are made by the same company, using the same technique, with the same grapes but one has a gold label and a longer shelf life thanks to a clever UV filtering wrapper. See if you can guess which one.

bargain prices!!

Think £30 is still a bit much? Well, if you’re prepared to hunt around the supermarkets you’ll find some cork popping deals. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label for £24 in Sainsbury's?…..don’t mind if I do! Nicolas Feuillatte and Andre Carpentier on a Fathers Day Tesco offer for £15 each……..we’re gonna need a bigger boot!
Impulse purchases can be dangerous though. Etienne Dumont is constantly on offer. There’s a reason for that and your toilet will thank you for steering well clear.

If you’re going to buy champagne for the first time don’t buy the cheapest. My pref’d tipple is Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and if I could, would drink it by the pint load. Which I do.
mmmm frozen raspberries mmmm

thicker glass keeps it cold

Iiii doonnt hav a pro blemm *hick*

Other bottles of note around £30 are Moet, Lanson, Laurent Perrier and Tattinger. All of which are reassuringly French sounding and rather scrummy but taste is only one half of the should I/shouldn't I equation. According to the missus, Moet makes me a grumpy drunk. Tattinger makes me a happy drunk but I get a longer buzz from Veuve Clicquot. Nicolas Feuillatte made me not want to be near anything loud the next day.

bit a Bolly daaaaarling

Drinking alone is a bit sad. You’ll need food as well!

Through extensive research I've found that foods beginning with the letter ‘C’ make a great companion. Chips, chocolate, crisps, curry, Chinese and chiwawa all work really well. I've found champagne is a very good pallet cleanser. The acidity clears and resets while the bubbles refresh to leave a fruity aftertaste. Think Cillit Bang for your gob.

Financing the fizz.
World-o-Quid shops like Poundland will be your biggest ally. Essentials like Warburtons bread, crisps, choccy and bribes for the kids can all be procured at a hugely reduced outlay compared to even the cheapest supermarket. If you can’t bear the thought of standing shoulder to shoulder with the great unwashed then get your shopping delivered online. 
“How will that save money?” I hear you gasp. 
Well, supermarkets now have an equal opportunities policy that insists a percentage of their staff be local and cranially challenged. In Stockport's case this means there's a never-ending supply. It also means there are nearly always order cock ups. A reasonably quick call to customer services should secure a free delivery and token discount off your next shop. Et voila, cash back.
If you're prepared to haggle and you can get over the secondhandedness, then eBay and carboot sales are well worth a punt. They've personally saved me thousands of squids, no really! Besides, carboots aren’t the embarrassing ailment you think they are. You've only got to look at the clientele parking to figure that out. In amongst the crappy Fords and Peugeot's are spanky new Range Rovers, Lexi (plural of Lexus), Beamers and Mercs. My personal fave parked up in a field was a 1year old Nissan GT-R in go-faster black. You've only got to Google the starting price of one to realize the rich aren't stupid. 
I think my best buy was a pair of pristine Fire XC Pro bike tyres which cost a grand total of £3. 
Total amount saved = £30
In just one purchase I'd got the rubber my bike needed and enough left over to get thoroughly mortaled.

Take my advice and start saving now, the drunken bliss that awaits you is well worth it.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Cast Off!!

You might not be aware but last October I broke my wrist, no really. I’ve tried to keep it low-key and not really mention it much. Today was the final day of being able to use my broken wrist as an excuse for being a lazy bazturd. I’ve been looking forward to this day for 8 months but it was here at last. The day was finally here! I was getting out! My in-arm-ceration was to end. At last, liberation for my re-scaffolded scaphoid. I would be free again to do the simple things like drive, use my right trouser pocket, use doors keys with a single hand, play darts, fire assault rifles and wipe my arse. I’d missed doing these things the most.

Formalities first though, hospital protocol meant a trip to Outpatients to collect the relevant paperwork, before then being dispatched to the Fracture Clinic for the necessary sawing.
Once at broken bone central, I grabbed a numbered ticket and made camp. On past experience I knew that there would be an amount of waiting to do. The next customer being ‘served’ was number 52. I was 58, this could take a while I thought but no, soon it was 53’s turn and then 54. 55 came around shortly after and 56 & 57 were just a blur. The numbers were falling like pensioners on ice and I was next!! I quickly dismantled the portable stove, packed away the sleeping bag and deflated the blow-up TV.
The slightly serial killer looking ‘Tony’ popped his head round the door and grunted my number. Like a Thompsons gazelle I leapt up and followed Tony in. Naturally he remembered me…how could he not? It seemed to give him extra impetuous to crack on (or should that be ‘off’) with proceedings. The Plaster Master sat me down, whipped out his power tool and sliced through my cast like a knife through hot butter. It tickled but the speed he was moving meant I was too scared to laugh.

Within seconds I was at the sink rinsing the crusty bits off my newly emancipated appendage. While there I noticed a young boy with his mother. He had also just been freed and we had a quick game of self-harm top trumps. My go first,
“How many bones broken?”
“One”, HAH! I had TWO plus a dislocation and torn ligament.
“Yeh but I’ve broken it twice” he replied
“The same wrist?”
The little shit had beaten me on a technicality so naturally I did the gentlemanly thing and conceded,
“We’ll call it a draw, bye”.

With that I exited the room and Fracture Clinic. The prospect of not having to see that waiting room again filled me with glee.
I strolled back to Outpatients for a liaison with the reconstruction surgeon. She was very happy with the amount of wrist movement I had but I wasn’t to ‘load it’ for at least six weeks. That meant no biking, no darts and no shooting weapons. DAMMIT. I deposited a small chocolate gift on her desk as a thank you for rebuilding me. Yes, she was "just doing her job" but it’s still nice to say thank you and reward a job well done. She was ending this arm-saga once and for all and that is something that the whole world should be grateful for. Before we parted I had time for a question:
“What happens if I break this again?”
Motionless and filled with fear she stated that to her knowledge no one has ever been stupid enough. Only a crazy twat moron of epic proportions would try. Cool I thought, I like being the first!! She’s going to ask about a reconstruction-reconstruction at the next “Hand” meeting and let me know at my 3month review. Until then, it’s probably best if I only fall off on my other side.
I left happy and bound for the physiotherapy department where an appointment would be made to get my oh-so stiff bits bendy again. On my way I popped in to Ward D5 to say thank you to the short stay surgery nurses that had put up with me three times. On my arrival they all legged it. They were probably just trying to hide their emotions at the prospect of not seeing their fave patient again. Yeh, that’ll be it. I really am that awesome. I dished out more chocolately loveliness to the woman on reception. Realizing that I wasn’t checking in for a forth time, she exhaled with relief and smiled. As I departed I saw her skipping up the corridor to the nurses room. I have that effect on people.

As I left the hospital it started to rain. Before today I had a real problem with trying to keep my cast-arm dry but it didn’t matter now. My grin didn’t last long as the light shower quickly turned into a monsoon. After a mad dash to the bus stop I pondered why it was called a ‘light shower’. If anything it was getting darker.
I only had to wait a minute before a WiFi enabled 192 came along. Once relieved of £1.90 and seated I had another gawp at my arm. The once covered up dead skin was drying up fast and falling off in a blizzard of epidermis. I couldn’t stop this malt so I decided to speed things up. Turns out that denim jeans make a good descaler. Who knew? There were only a few stops before I had to get off so I did what I could and then put my jeans back on.
My arm looks more or less normal now apart from the sun tan marks. I look like I’ve just dipped my hand knuckle deep in diarrhea. To save embarrassment I’m just going to tell everyone that I’m a bovine vet with fingerless latex gloves.

The next blog I do will be about getting fit again. My legs have zero miles in them and my hard bits are floppy. Don’t even mention the impending saddle sore! With that in mind though I think a good title for the next epic diatribe should be:

Let the arse hardening begin!!

Friday, 10 May 2013

A Wristed Development.

Exciting News Wrist Fans!!

I thought today was supposed to be a routine post-op cast change but much to my (and your) delight, there was a very nice surprise. 
I should have known something was different because it was raining. Normally when I'm incapacitated there is uninterrupted warm sunshine and the birds sing like a rumbled Stuart Hall. Today though, it was different. It was wet and cold, like a trout with a grudge.
The journey to Stepping Hell began as it always does with a short adventure up the A6 on the WiFi enable 192. The free bandwidth was being battered by the students upstairs who were no doubt downloading important school stuff. Judging by the comments about 'Brazilians' and 'coming first' I can only assume they were studying F1 race drivers. Soon it was my turn to get off.....the bus. I pegged it for cover so as my existing plaster wouldn't get too soggy.
As I made my way onto the hospital grounds I didn't even bother looking at the signs. I knew the layout like the back of my hand. The hand I could still see, obviously. The hand I couldn't see was about to get its first airing in a good few weeks. I got comfy in Outpatient reception until the lovely Michelle called my 
name across a sea of bored and broken faces. 
I was taken into the back room reserved for really brave soldiers. "Do you know why you're here today?" said Michelle in her best, let's get this cracked out so as I can have an early lunch, voice. "Yep" I replied. 
That was a lie. The only information I had was gleamed from reading my post-op notes whilst the anaesthetic wore off from Op3.0.
She explained that today I was indeed going to have a new cast. Yay! I was also going to have my stitches out. Cool! 

The old plaster was only solid on one side so the weapons grade scissors cut through the bandaged side like a well oiled ferret down a drainpipe.

The wounds underneath confirmed what I'd always suspected. I was part Jesus! The sun never shone in front of me because it was too busy shining out of my arse. 

I literally am, Christ on a bike. 

Stigmata aside, the stitches were uber close to my median nerve which seemed to enjoy reminding it was there every time a stitch was pulled.

I might have noodles for lunch.

My request to 'ave a go' at removing the threads was flatly ignored, but once I had been un-crocheted I enquired about the pins still inside me. Michelle had a quick conflab with Ms. Machete Maestro who had performed the surgery and who just happened to be passing at the time. In reality, she was probably just hovering around her favourite patient/deity. It turns out that I don't need anymore operations!!! What I thought were k-wires under my skin are in fact bone anchors very similar to the ones holding my capsule together. The anchors had a good enough bite, so the pins were pulled out during the surgery.
This is indeed good news because it means I only need to spend four more weeks in a cast before I can start fizzeo again. 

Time to get plastered.

Even better news is that I won't have to bore you all with more blogs about my ailing appendages.

See, there is a God. I call him Daddy.

bye bye

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Nearly there people!!

You all knew what you were getting into when I started this so it’s too late to back out now. We’re in this together but fear not there is an end game in sight, no really. I know I’ve said that before but rest assured that the adventures of Scaphoid and the Hurty Wrist are barrelling towards a full stop just as I did last October when this Lord of the Rings style epic yawn fest began. What you’re reading now is the penultimate chapter of a book that even Tolstoy would consider wordy. This is a novel that has about as much depth as Ant & Dec, with more twists and turns than snake in a drainpipe. The chief protagonist is a sweet toothed hero in more than just words, there are paragraphs and commas and everything.  The antagonists are gravity, NHS waiting rooms and chocolate biccies.
The latest ramble began on Monday with some interarmular arthroscopy and the slim chance of a permanent fix. I say slim because with the amount of damage I’d already done a quick in and out fix was unlikely despite the fact that the CT scan had come back more or less ‘alright’. I was checked in and made comfy before the endless wave of fans came by to catch a glimpse of their hero. Doctors, nurses, surgeons and an anaesthetist all wanted a piece of my ass. There were endless forms and questions to answer and I had to keep reminding them all that they didn’t need to make up excuses to see me, and that under this epic layer of awesome I was just like they are but a little bit better.  

outpatient fashion baby!

Unsurprisingly some of the nurses remembered me, well, how could they not? They took my post-op food order of sausage, egg and chips with a smile and a “I’ll see what I can do”. I hadn’t eaten all day so as a distraction I parked my bum in the TV room half expecting some show tunes from a drag act but instead was greeted with daytime television and a second floor window in which to jump out of. After minutes of local Beeb programming my thoughts turned to our home Sky TV subscription and how it was now worth every single penny.
the hours of waiting just flew by
After a few hours of unconscious viewing it was my turn to head to the theatre. This was another play that I didn’t want to miss or be awake in. The junior meat slicers had yet more questions before wheeling me off to the knocker-outer room. I think my confidence and general awesomeness unsettled them. I don’t think they’re used to patients that aren’t bricking it. The lovely Tina wired me up to the monitors while hippy Rob banged the cannula in. Flexible friend Harry and I compared how bendy our joints were before he slammed in the morphine. This was the weirdest feeling in the world. It resembled someone lightly grabbing my insides and was not unpleasant but way too weird to be nice. A bit like the wife’s attempt at a meringue. Next, the hibernation hooch was injected.  As my eyelids closed I pondered whether my sphincter would still hold back the guff I needed during unconsciousness. Ah well, it was too laa........ zzzzzzzzzzz 

When I woke up I was on my way back up to the ward. I couldn’t smell any sausage, egg or chips, maybe it was already waiting for me. It wasn’t. Yet again all they had in the cupboards was toast and the offer of some hot brown stuff in a cup. I opted for the hot brown stuff labelled coffee. Last time I was here I asked for tea, that was a mistake. That was about as close to tea as North Korea is to Amsterdam at night.
As I munched I perused the medical notes left behind. Blah blah blah, what a hunk, blah blah, awesome this, blah blah epic that, blah blah blah another surgey. Wait! What the fudge!?!
At the start I referred to this as the penultimate chapter because there is one last throw of the dice which will start in a couple of weeks. A finale surgery to end all surgeries and it will be awesomely epic. A Ben Hur style reconstruction of my wrist using bits of me that aren’t being used (i.e. stomach muscles, bollocks, brain etc) to form a new tendon to anchor my absconding osseous matter. My scaphoid’s days of wondering free are now numbered, and when the little fecker has been lassoed with some high level hatcheting the mountain biking will commence once again. Only then will this drivel end and you will be free to get on with your lives.
bye bye..for now