Dont buy the Sun.

Dont buy the Sun.
Hillsborough Justice campaign - Remember the 96.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Zoo's Who?

Glasgow/Stirling July 2010

Frankly, it's an outrage. No, I'm not banging on about the very existence of Blair Drummond Castle, located in the safari park we are visiting, although that same existence is indicative of a feudal modality by no means long erased from our history. And I'm not wittering on about animal rights, although the sights of the larger animals in the park, caged in the necessary cause of establishing breeding populations because of our inability to look after any portion of this small blue planet, did make me sad. As previously stated, this blog is infrequently given to matters political, so it is not these undoubtedly important issues that have caused my sap to rise. No, what is important on this day, and is utterly, utterly wrong is that after not having seen my erstwhile neighbour - one Mr Chris Carriere - for a good few years, and after singing his praises far and wide throughout the Shires of Yorkshire and beyond, the same Mr (how it grieves me to give him a gentleman's form of address) Carriere has acted with breathtaking mendacity and cheated in our race down the aqua slide, shoving off on his hessian mat before the count of "One, Two, THREE " is up.

It was though, as the attached slide show illustrates, a damn close run thing, with Mazzer nearly catching the Canadian at the bottom. Shades of the winter Olympics, methinks! And joking aside - in case you hadnt realised I was joking - we had a great day at Blair Drummond Safari park with Joanie, Chris, Lena and Iain. The meeting - sadly only one day - was much shorter than we had initially planned. The original sketch was a meeting in the Outer Hebrides, where the guys spent a week or so, for a few dyas closer to wilderness, but ideals and cash conflict, with pragmatism winning the upper hand. Travelling within the UK is hideously expensive and involved as we are in the "credit crunch" (AKA Global economic meltdown) an absence of employment has tightened reduced our own money supply temporarily so a more economical overnight trip to Glasgow (where their vacation was ending) was arranged.

However as a group, we are made of sterner stuff tha to allow minor things like the imminent collapse of society to spoil a good time. The Carriere-Veitch contingent have, after all, survived frequent suspensions of democracy via the Harpon tyranny, and self and Large have two cats, so collectively, we're a pretty tough group. In short, we had a great time. It is slightly irksome, for self and Large that most of our favourite people live an ocean away, but on the average day, that is closer than London, UK, if travelling time due to roadworks is taken into account. Having met up with Joe and Anna, Grasshooper and Burt last year, and JC and then the Carriere-Veitch Syndicate this year, Nel and I estimated that we only have to encourage about another fourteen Canadians to visit the UK and we can legitimately claim to have hosted a nation, as it is common knowledge that the population of Canada is "about twenty".

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

How to change a bicycle Rear Wheel; Number one in a Series of Simple "How to's". Sponsored by Calli, Tosh, Lilly, Hannibal, Diego and Several Brians

Many of us like to go cycling, especially in the summer. The joy of the wind in the hair, the clasp of tight lycra round the speculative organs and the knowledge that unless you've just eaten Mazzer and Burt's famous "Drunken Pineapple Chicken", your journey will be totally emission free. However, your carefree days of cycling can be endangered by some common problems. Possibly the worst of these is an attempted murder by a lunatic hit and run driver. If this should happen to you, resulting in stress breaks to the rear wheel spokes, dont just swap out the good back wheel for a crappy olod one you happen to have lying around, leaving the good one to fester under a pile of insulation in your unfinished loft for 2 years. No, act promptly - fixin' up that old back wheel is easier than you think. Here's how:

Step 1: Find said back wheel under boxes when inexplicably searching for favourite Halloween costume in middle of summer, preferably when you are supposed to be making a new fireplace.

Step 2: Identify problem with wheel.

Step 3: Search internet for possible solutions. You may be tempted at this point to spend over $15,000 on a new wheel but as you have already committed £500 of your family fortune to buying shares in Liverpool Football Club (without telling your partner) as part of a fan-based syndicate you decide that the easy to follow instructions on how to change the wheel are easy. Especially as you are, allegedly, "handy".

Step 4: Rush out, and buy new wheel anyway because you discover that it takes weeks to get the parts - hub, gears etc whereas you can buy a complete pre-assembled wheel locally, for cheaper. Your plan is to strip the new wheel of the parts you need, and replace the old worn parts on your original wheel with these new parts. It is a brilliant plan.

Step 5: Discover, on re-reading the various internet guides, that you have none of the correct tools. decide to improvise. (Note: Its actually day six of your repair by now).

Step 6: Start improvising. Results are oil on best hiking pants, 2 scared cats, big grooves in the grass where the wheel has spun out of control as you try to unscrew the hub, and a suspected broken finger from hammer impacts. You are at "step one" of the internet "how to". The gear cassette remains attached to the wheel.

Step 7: Go out and buy most of the correct tools for the job.

Step 8: Realise NOT buying a bench mounted vise was mistake. Consider building garden shed in order to house vise. Check "bike repair" budget.

Step 9: Fix garden pomd while having "a bit of a think".

Step 10: Take newly bought wheel, old wheel and half-ruined tools to bike shop. Pretend nephew is cack-handed and a bit daft. Nice man agrees to fix "your" wheel. Maintain pretence that wheel is "nephew's".

I hope the guide helps. Next week's guide is "How to Make Raffia Garden Chairs using only materials from your own garden". Should be lots of fun, and be careful to read up on the fact sheet "Drying garden cuttings in the toilet" before starting this project, as you il need a good supply of raffia substitute for the project.