Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ready to roll

Off to Brum in the morning. We have to rush to the house to sign up for the big event when online registration opens at 11:00 GMT.......

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Buying a bike part 2

New information has come to light, a very important requirement has been added to the list

" has to look very nice when not being ridden"

That changes things somewhat so new we have to suggest something artistic, such as Vanilla

I am becoming convinced that a custom Moots is the way to go. Perfect fit and geometry, relaxed position, moustache bars, compact crankset, XTR mountain bike equipment so you can have integrated shifters with hydraulic brake levers. You'd never want to ride anything else!

Buying a bike part 1

Oh what joy to be able to post on this subject, vicarious satisfaction knows no bounds!

What sort of bike?

Road bike
You know what a road bike looks like so here is a Cannondale cross bike

Light, sexy, fast, aesthetic advantage over all others
Fragile, not greate on rough roads/tracks etc, a little impractical with shopping etc

Cross bike
Lemond cross bike

Cool factor, disc brakes, practical and light
Maybe expensive as in a niche

Trek Soho "fitness bike"

Practical, comfortable and durable
Geeky/nurdy, bit expensive as again a niche and not really a decision, but the result of failing to make a decision

Mountain bike
This is a Cannondale Urban bike, but it is just an MTB with slick tyres

Good value, reasonably practical, disc brakes, cool (extra cool if you get a 29" wheel bike, but then more expensive), versatile. Could be good to get 2 sets of wheels - 700c and 26"
Unoriginal, not good on the road, attractive to thieves

Yeah well, I dunno, probably best to get one of each!
But if you only want one, it depends on what you want to do, but I can't help thinking that a road bike is not what you want unless you plan to start riding more on the roads for fun rather than to get from A to B. Otherwise, go with the cross bike or find a cooler hybrid like Trek Soho
Of course you could buy this one, everyone will want it!
It is a Seven, but how about this Moots (from Steamboat Springs so supporting local business) old school touring bike, this is really nice and pretty suitable I would say.

That's it, drive to Steamboat Springs and get the guys to make you one of these, it will be ready by spring and I'm sure they'd do you one with disc brakes if that's what you want.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ich bin ein Hamburger

I have no idea how to spell any of those German words, but I guess neither had JFK!
Anyway, last night we stayed in a nice hotel and went out for a nice meal: Lemon grass soup served with quail and lentils followed by a selection of very good fish and finally three different creme brulle (raspberry, strawberry and white chocolate). That was the surprise menu and it was a goo surprise.
So US Chrissy presents... hmm Just some ideas, but there is not really any need to send us anything
Gilette fusion razor blades

Palm TX wifi PDA
I'm looking for other things, but need to check details...
long sleeve t shirts/jumpers
Shimano 105 9 speed STI shifter/brake levers
Handlebar tape
Pair of jeans, need to get spec...

It's hard work spending other peoples money.......
I'll get back to it later when I've had a rest and I can find some pictures to make it more fun.

OK there are some pictures...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas wish lists

Those not in Denmark, please ignore this post, it is something that we are required to do over here to make everyone's life easier when gifts are to be exchanged, it means that you get what you want and it is easy to decide what to get others. It still grates on me to issue a list of requests though...

There are two purposes to this post.
First can the rest of the HP based clan please let us have your Christmas requests.
Secondly, here are our wish lists.

Joint family things:
Silver FatBoy original beanbag thing
Minipod speakers white, silver or black...
New calendar for Georg Jensen calender board
Marmekko plastic covered tablecloth
Iittala Teema 0,4l mugs in different colours
MKs requests:
DAB radio
Ski socks
Ski goggles (maybe kiddies size!)
Smart jacket thing for work
Tshirts for work (not plain cotton ones)
Apple coring and slicing machine (?)
Full facial jobby from beautician
Zwilling all purpose shears
Jeremy requests:
Junior sized duvet
Bananas, bananas, bananas, yoghurt, bananas, bananas, rice cake, bananas etc etc...

WM requests:
Zwilling manicure set (clippers, scisors and file minimum)
Zwilling kitchen tools eg pizza cutter
Rapha merino training top or fixed jersy (half the price!) biggest size
Whisky glasses - Waterford crystal Aura design if possible
Goretex paclite (or equivalent) biking jacket
Motorcycle riding lessons (whatever is compulsory to get a licence, I know how to ride)
Triumph Scrambler
Telemark Ski lessons: week 6 in Val d'Isere :o)

Congratulations Karen and Lars

OK so this doesn't look at all like either of them, but it is a Danish theme.
Karen and Lars have announced that they are getting married. This is very exciting news and we are already looking forward to the event. I just wish we had been there to see the look on Lars's mothers face...
Congratulations again and good luck with the planning!

Friday, November 24, 2006

We're off to Brum

It's just been booked, we are all off to Birmingham on Friday to the ancestral home...

Haircut 100

Finally, 2 weeks after my appointment, I managed to get my hair cut this morning. Ah, the joys of working from home...

OK, I can see that I look like crap, but that is not the point. Now I look like crap with shorter hair.

For the grandparents:

We had Pizza last night, even J seems to like pizza!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

In Copenhagen for a change

Just for once I am at my own office, at least I can get my expenses in!
This will be my last word on our work/life situation. Perhaps I need to learn to express myself more positively because I was not feeling morose when I wrote that post on the train to Germany, it was merely and update on what is going on at the moment.
Anyway, K got home from Sweden at 10:00 and I had enjoyed looking after J on my own for the day with no real problems, actually he is pretty much back to his usual happy self!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So far so good

I have managed to get J to nursery with no problems, he was a bit confused to wake up and find me here and his mum gone since when he went to sleep, mum was home and I was not...
Anyway he has been all smiles this morning as you can see:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


It seems from the comments to last nights post that I was being overly self pitying. I am not at all, I can see all of the good things that are going on in my life and am grateful for the opportunities that I have. I am not unhappy, just tired and fancying a change.
I have carefully not mentioned my employer by name here, but I am not worried about being found out. Given the job market in Denmark and my current position, there is little doubt that they need me as much, if not more than I need them.

Pride may come before a fall, but that is certainly how it looks from here.
The intention of the post was to let you guys know what is going on in my little world.
Wednesday should be fun, I have J for the duration as MK is off to Sweden for all of his waking hours. I am sure that will be enough to fill another post tomorrow night...

Monday, November 20, 2006

WARNING! Self indulgent post

Where are we?
I am not really sure what to do at the moment. I am not a person who sits paralysed in situations that I don't enjoy, but here I am a little stuck. The problem is that it appears I need to earn a reasonable living so that we can continue to live in the manner to which we have become accustomed. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that my current job is not conducive to a happy family existence. Since September I have been travelling a lot and have (some may say unusually) been working very hard. The result is that I rely too much on MK to look after me and Jeremy and when I am home, I have been tired and not helpful enough. I am determined not to be an absent father, but I can see that it is happening already. With MK back at work, travelling and working are becoming rather too much for us to deal with happily. To me, just dealing with it is not enough, life needs to include at least a soupcon of happiness.

So what to do about it?

Option 1 – Take a break
I could happily give up working tomorrow and have been encouraged to do so, it is amazing how supportive MK can be regardless of the impact on herself, and she will always encourage me to do what will make me happy. I would love some time to enjoy Jeremy and return to a healthier lifestyle, but I think the financial consequences are too great at the moment so I think that option is out for the time being.

Option 2 – Sit it out and wait for the PhD
Having begun the journey towards this utopian academic existence, it has turned out to be a frustratingly slow process that I hope will be completed within the next 6 months, in the meantime, I am somewhat in limbo. With a minimum of 2 months notice to work out, it could easily be another 8 months before that gets off the ground and that is a long time to be living like this.

Option 3 – Get another job
I have a 2 month notice period and in Denmark this is always from the end of the month so the earliest I can be free is the beginning of February. Given the job market in Copenhagen at the moment, I know that I can get another job and probably an interesting one, but do I really want to start a new job? What I really want is the PhD and it's not really very fair to start a new job and then leave after a couple of months.

So there is the dilemma. I think I will tough it out with the current job for a while in the hope that it calms down with the travelling. As soon as it looks like the funding is on its way for the PhD I will be out like a shot. Perhaps it makes sense to wait until the spring anyway; it's more fun to be out of work when the sun is shining.

I wrote this to try and explain how lucky I am to have such a wonderful supportive wife and that I don't want to take her for granted. Perhaps it is telling that in the end I have written almost entirely about myself. She is the one who is spending around 3 hours each day in the car getting to work and back and then looking after Jeremy whilst I am off on my travels; at this particular moment I am sitting on a train just outside Hamburg looking forward to another night in a hotel whilst she will be awoken every couple of hours by the little man. I can't really believe it, but Jeremy hasn't slept through the night since we went to the US in August…

I guess that means do nothing for now, but be ready to pounce as soon as an opportunity comes along. In the meantime, don't take the good bits for granted (in other words, buy flowers more often!)

Home again

We left the hotel at 04:00 in the middle of a snow storm, the roads had not been cleared as there is normally not much going on at that time on a Sunday morning. The wipers on the coach stopped working half an hour or more before we arrived at the airport, but thankfully we were only delayed by an hour. So getting home with 2 hours sleep under my belt, I could not really manage anything except sleeping for a couple of hours and then to bed early. (J had other ideas about any of us sleeping well though...)
So Iceland, how was it? I hear you all ask.
It is a pretty special place, not like anywhere else I have been. The cold was apparently unusually severe, but the landscape was amazing, with steam apparently emitted from the ground all over the place and most streams and rivers lined with ice from the water vapor freezing to the grass. I'd like to go back and see Reykjavik and take a bit more time to explore, but preferably when someone else is paying again.

At the quad biking - last picture before the battery died :-(

Off Road!

The Blue Lagoon


And back again off road

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Let's off road!

We have had an interesting but cold day out and about in Iceland today, it was -16 C this morning when we left. We have been off roading in some huge modified SUV things, then quad biking and visiting geysers and glacial waterfalls.
After a short swim outside just now, we are getting ready for a meal together tonight.
This really is an unusual country in every respect. The Danes are really shocked by the prices, it is a taste of their own medicine to my eyes!
Photos when I have a chance...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Drinking contests

It was not a proud moment when the leader of my service line stood on stage last night and declared that our team is better than all of the others and to prove it we would beat the rest of the company in a drinking competition! So there it was, we were in teams of 4, one at a time drinking a bottle of beer, spin around the bottle 10 times and then hand over to the next one. I was really lucky because I got to do it twice!
I haven't had to do something like that for more than 10 years, never mind sometimes you just have to join in and pretend to understand what the f' is going on.
Yes we won.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Iceland update

Well I can confirm my first impressions: It is very cold here. About -10 Degrees and a VERY cold wind.
We went riding today on Icelandic horses (small and hairy) in the desolate and impressive landscape. Then we went to the blue lagoon in the dark, thankfully with no big allergy problems. Legging to and from the hotish water was rather bracing!

Landed in Iceland

I'm in Iceland, it is
Very Late (03:00 Danish time)
Very cold
Very windy
I'm going to bed now

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Making progress

Well I'm back from Hamburg after a long dull day of 8 hours on the train and 3½ hours in a meeting. It seems that J is not much better, but still he is a bit better. Sorry, not pictures from Germany, but I am taking the camera to Iceland (really I'd like to buy a new one, but that's secret...)

Monday, November 13, 2006

News From The Trenches

Well it's been messy:
Thursday night - J and MK are both sick
Friday - J and MK are getting a bit better
Friday night - I am sick and J is still under the weather
Saturday - I am under the weather and J is sick
Sunday - Everyone has their status reduced to "under the weather"
However, as J has not eaten anything resembling a meal since Wednesday we have been to the Doctors and come home with penicillin for his double ear infection and preparing for him to have another week at home.
The rest of the week, I will try to make more interesting with pictures and updates from Hamburg

and Iceland

Friday, November 10, 2006

Skype me!

Well apparently some of you now have skype accounts :-) However, I don't know what your Skype names are so I can't get hold of you :-(
So post a comment and give me your details please.
I have had a crazy week, one night at home and 60 hours of work, I need to sleep.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Back in home for a few moments

I was home just after midnight, I left again at 09:00 until tomorrow. What an exciting, jet setting life I have. It will be so glamorous sleeping in the Quality Hotel (always a mis-noma) in Viborg tonight.
This is the gate that I walk through when I go to the main office in Carlsberg, it is pretty impressive and even after a year here, it still makes me smile.

J is sick again after having a vaccination yesterday, this is getting boring...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stuck in Poland...

Well I should be on my way home, but instead I am in Poznan looking forward to another night in the Mercure hotel and another day working in this building next door (office on the right, hotel on the left)

The exciting thing is that I am going shopping in a minute to get some clean socks, pants and shirt!
I don't suppose I can find a picture of those on google images though...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Domestic Bliss

Autumn Cleaning: Arranging Mum's vast collection of shoes and boots

My weekend was spent putting winter tyres on the car, cleaning, tidying, washing, cooking etc etc. Domestic blisters ahoy. Now the basement is clean and tidy though

At least I managed to clean my bike ready for the winter it is now safely fitted to the turbo trainer for the coming 5-6 months... urgh.

I can while away my time making infinately slow progress towards this table and surrounding junk/bike parts

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What is Skype?

Skype is a company that allows you to make telephone calls over the internet, it is free to call other Skype users (such as me!) and cheap to call anyone on a land line (such as you :o)). If you are interested you have to download to software and create an account here

Saturday, November 04, 2006


This is special post for a number of reasons:
  1. It is the weekend
  2. J is not going to be mentioned
  3. I am making a request
Please can thos people with whome MK and I have regular telephone contact outside Denmark install Skype and get themselves an account on their computers. No excuses, we can then all talk to each other for free whenever we are online at the same time privided that the computers are swithed on, we can even call each other. It is also cheaper to call to normal phones.

Thanks, I am looking forward to Skyping with you all soon!

Friday, November 03, 2006

First refusal

It's been some time since I updated my faithful readers on the progress of my PhD project as nothing really has happened. My contact at Copenhagen Business School called me yesterday to say that the first company who had been contacted did not have the time to commit to my research. The upshot of this is that the guys at CBS will continue to look for funding from other companies and I carry on waiting. However, it is a little exciting that my proposal will be printed in the journal of Djøf, the union forlawyerss and other professionals as I understand it.
J is getting better, but still not sleeping much so neitherr are his parents.

Oh and it's still cold!