Saturday, 24 May 2014

Sauerkraut experiment

Rather than being the name of a stereolab album. I've been meaning to experiment with fermentation as a means of food production. We all love beer, but there must be other things to make with making stuff go off.

I recently bought a book on fermentation and the history and cultural significance thereof. Whilst very good, I thought I'd try this simple recipe for sauerkraut as a first step.

First sterilise the jars (weird huh given that I'm cooking with bacteria)

Then core and chop the cabbage

Massage in the salt for 5-10 mins

Put in jar, cover with a whole cabbage leaf and weigh down with a smaller jar (full of water)

cover with a jam or cheese cloth


And if you do decide to make some more... buy at least 2 cabbages!!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


There is a dignity in rising up to meet a challenge but there is very often little to no dignity in what we have to wear to achieve our goals.

A case in point would be the triathlon suit that arrived in the post this Saturday. All in one, stretchy Lycra in black. Cut using the basic assumption that we are all shaped like a pro. The zip extends only as far as the sternum so I am going to be a hot sweaty mess if I ever need to get in and out of it to use a lavatory.

This is just one of an increasingly long list of totally undignified things that we wear, smear on or accept as normal in the pursuit of sporting glory.This list includes but is not limited to...

  • Chamois cream - mentholated or regular? Used to prevent friction burns and saddle sores this goop is smeared on your genitals and bum. The result feels like you pooped your pants with ice cream.
  • Winter bib-tights - Brilliant protection for the elements but effectively a fleecy skin-tight baby-gro. Keeps the draft out but as it has no fastening you have to get all the layers off and then sit naked with it around your knees when using the loo.
  • Cycling shorts - The fastest way to look like an oversized sausage with a camel-toe. At worst you look like wurst. At best you look like a member of 1980's band Erasure.
  • Running shorts - See above only this time think Burt Reynolds does PE.
  • Hi-Vis clothing - Are you going to the Camden Palais in 1995? a little bit rave a little bit council health and safety officer.Not dignified and impossible to look at whilst eating/concentrating on anything else.

Have I missed anything?

Friday, 16 May 2014

My new found shame

"You should be ashamed of yourself;Overtaking on a narrow road like this"

As I was riding up through Islington and into Hackney last night I found myself stopped at the junction behind three other bikes. As the lights changed we set off together over the junction. I noticed as we entered the road opposite that I was gaining on the bikes in front and so after signalling I pulled around them and off in a single manoeuvre.

As I did so, the car (at this point about 10 metres) behind honked. Revved it's engine and pulled alongside. Now blocking the lane for oncoming traffic the lady in the passenger seat wound down her window and tutted:

"You should be ashamed of yourself;Overtaking on a narrow road like this"


I checked behind me
Signalled the manoeuvre
Made the manoeuvre
remained on my side of the road

Why should I be ashamed?

I wasn't passing judgement on others. I was within  the law and the highway code. we were on a road with traffic calming measures, where the narrow width (2 lanes of traffic between parked cars) and frequent speed bumps make it difficult for cars to get above the 20mph limit.

Why should I be ashamed?

At that point I hadn't a thing to be ashamed of.

I considered my response.

"Fuck you" I muttered

Now I was a little tiny bit ashamed

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Why I'm doing the triathlon

This August I'll be swimming/cycling/running the London Triathlon in aid of SCOPE. Scope exists to make this country a better place for disabled people and their families through advice, providing services and campaigning on their behalf.

On the 3rd of August I have chosen to compete in the Olympic distance: which involves a 1500m swim, A 40km cycle and a 10km run. I can currently do two of these things but not on the same day, so there is a little training still to go.

You can read more about why I’m doing this and what it involves, as well as hopefully sponsoring me, on my fundraising page. Please support me and this excellent charity.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A lovely ride by the river

We'd agreed the meet by Facebook messages earlier in  the week. We knew where to meet but not really where we were going. This however is ok because today we are following the Lee River navigation. The main choices are which side of the river to go on, and whether to follow any of the signposted diversions.

Everyone's agenda differs slightly and we had some people picnicking and others buying the food en-route. Some had a distance in mind and others were looking for a decent pub (we didn't find one). Claire decided to do the journey on a borrowed bike with 2 slow punctures, whilst Vera and David used full on touring machines. The rest of us used city bikes. This is my second longish ride on the brompton. Whilst it's definitely do-able, it leaves me very achy and sore the morning afterwards. On this occasion we also caught the sun a little and rehydrated with beer... both adding to the fatigue.

We stopped for lunch at the Lee Valley Adventure centre picnic area and immediately caused a panic by trying to order 3 sandwiches at once.

The journey out took 2 hours. The Journey back just 1.5. We debriefed in the pub before Vera went off to work and we went home to find out if my cousin and her friend had managed to find Lincolnshire.