Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Birthday

I didn't get around to posting yesterday but happy birthday to my dad anyway.

We have been busy doing not much at all - just the odd walk in the woods, eating drinking and trying to decide where and when to go on holiday in 2010.

J had been promised "the biggest chocolate cake in the world" if he managed not to wee in his pants in December which he (more or less) managed so he got this.

We polished off the turkey in a rather fine pie that I made from scratch.

This morning the car is being serviced before MK and I go to Copenhagen for lunch and a quiet, child free stroll around the city.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Christmas

We have had a very nice relaxed Christmas so far and are looking forard to a few more days off. T&B fed us very well on the 24th, I cooked on the 25th and today we have rested.

Thanks to everyone for your generous gifts and we look forward to catching up with all our friends and family in 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christymas

I can't believe how busy I am this week and I suspect I'll have to do some exta stuff before going back officially no 4th January but at least I got the biggest stuff out of the way.

We're getting set to eat ourselves into oblivion for the next few days so it's time to wish you all a happy Christmas and get busy in the kitchen. I just made some leek and potato soup for tea this evening in an effort to avoid rich food for a couple of hours before the sh#t hits the fan tomorrow afternoon...

Have a good one and I hope Santa brings what you want.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter continues outside

Thankfully I don't need to drive very far for the rest of the week, but it does look like there won't be much riding outside on my days off either.

These guys were getting cabin fever earlier so MK has taken them out in the snow to burn off some energy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Busy in Norway

I've had a busy day in the sout of Norway and I am currently sitting
waiting for a flight back to CPH.
Hopefully some sort of normal blogging will resume tomorrow with
something to read, but you never know. I can see I am going to busy
right up to Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mad snow

THere was about 15cm of snow here last night and the country is doing an impression of the UK with 1.5cm of snow meaning that lots of things have ground to a halt.

I got to work ok, now I have to get home...
Edit: Which I managed without serious incident

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

No time for Christmas at the moment

Yesterday was a very busy day for me in Copenhagen. I took the train to avoid all of the climate summit congestion but as a result spent a reasonable amount of time walking around in the falling snow. The evening was another hurried afair with work calls coming in throughout, DK breaking a glass snow ball thingy and everything happening rather later than planned.

The result was that the kids were not in bed until 8 and I was not feeling up to training as a result of my cold/flu thing and general tiredness. Instead I decided to watch "Don't mess with the Zohan" that was lying around from the DVD club. It was crap. There is very little else to say other than don't waste your time with it, you'd be better off asleep.

Today the busyness business continues so I doubt that I will make it to the Nursey Christmas bazar to buy back the picture frames that we gave them a few weeks ago. I am sure MK will come home laden with works of art though :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Slush Cup #3

Yesterday was the first really cold day of the winter and it also happened to be the day of the 3rd round of the slush cup mountain bike race series. It was a really nice sunny morning, there was hardly any mud to contend with and the race was a lot of fun.

I was 119th out of 216 so firmly in the middle as ever. The problem is that you are allocated a start spot and by the time the crowds have thinned out, the guys in front are so far in front that you have no chance of catching them. I have to be honest though, I belong in the middle and I am happy to stay there.

In the afternoon, we all went to a local farm with T&B to find a Christmas tree and to see the Christmas market. We succeed in finding a tree and J now has a father Christmas hat with flashing lights around it - very tasteful!

Finally, when we sat down on the sofa last night to relax I felt very cold and tired, this got worse and worse until I went to be realising that I was getting sick. I think spent about 4 hours tossing and turning, sweating and not settling as I tried to go to sleep. As a result I am home today feeling rather crappy and hoping that I don't have swine flu !

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So little to say

It's turning into another week of work, childcare, a bit of bike riding, eating and some sleep. In other words, not much is happening worthy of note here.

Last night we watched the latest Harry Potter film which was actually pretty good but it did mean that we got to bed late yet again although it was better than the previous nights when I have not managed to get myself under the duvet until after midnight. I really am hopeless at making myself turn off the TV or computer and go to bed unless there is someone to tell me to.

Later today I am getting my hair cut and that will almost certainly be the highlight of the day.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Aborted Haircut

MK just came home from the hair dressers with the boys. J was as well behaved as usual (in this case that does actually mean well behaved because he gets lollipops for sitting still) but DK was difficult.

Apparently he was so difficult that they abandoned the whole operation and we have to take him back on Saturday morning to finish the job off!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hard at it

I am really busy at work at the moment, hence the lack of a blog on Tuesday. However, despite work and kids, I have managed to do my training tonight so I am feeling quite pleased with myself.

3 x 12 minutes Steady State (approx 152 BPM) with 6 minutes between intervals.

That was harder than I thought it would be although I suppose that in some way I've been on a tread-mill all day.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Non stop action

There is a lot going on over here at the moment. My journey to work this morning took me 1½ hours because if the climate conference and we have been advised to avoid Copenhagen completely on some days next week. I can see it will be a pain in the neck just getting around.

J and I spent Friday doing a bit of Christmas shopping and managed to find everything that we needed although he was somewhat disappointed by the time that he spent at work with me before we hit the shops. Oddly enough he found it boring despite being force fed sweets by my colleagues for most of the time he was there.

On Saturday I managed a decent bike ride whilst cooking a load of stuff for dinner in the evening when some some friends came to eat with us. It was nice to see them and they have since called to instruct MK that we should leave DK & J with them one evening and go out to eat because she looks like she needs feeding up a bit.

Sunday was my company's family Christmas party. We had a great time, there was a magician, far too much to eat and of course the kids got presents. Now I have to get on with some work and figure out how to do all the other stuff that has to be finalised before Christmas.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Time Crunched Training update

I started the new training plan on Monday and so far it has been fine. In had to do a test at the weekend to determine my maximum average heart rate that I could sustain for 8 minutes (I had to do that twice and it was not much fun) to determine my training zones.

Then on Monday it was a fairly easy 45-60 minutes riding before the real sessions started on Tuesday with 3 x 10 minutes Steady State, which for me meant with a heart rate between 148 and 151. That was harder work and I have to do it again today although yesterday was a rest day. Somehow I seem to have synchronised this poorly with real life because tonight I will be late home from work, we need to flush DK's bowels and the boys both need a bath so I suspect it will be another late night.

Tomorrow, however, will be something of a challenge for a totally different reason. J is coming to work with me in the morning and then we are going into CPH for some Christmas shopping in the afternoon. He is normally very well behaved when it is just the 2 of us but I know he will got bored in the office so I plan to do a bit of work at home before we go to make sure that there are no emergencies that need to be dealt with and then keep the desk time to a minimum. We also have a Nintendo Wii in the office that I should be able to get working for J if someone helps me. Thankfully it is another rest day from training though.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Less wee, fewer nappies and more plastic toys

J has been pretty good at not weeing in his pants since his 4th birthday. We don't quite know why, but he happily went through 2,3 or 4 pairs of trousers a day until his birthday and from then on it has only happened once or twice because 4 year olds don't wee in their trousers. We don't know why, but we are happy about it.

However, he doesn't seemed to have figured out how to not wee in his bed so he still sleeps in a nappy. The problem was that between putting the nappy on and getting into be he would inevitably use it meaning that it needed changing before bed and that habit was getting rather annoying and expensive as well so we made a deal that if he could manage a week without weeing in his nappy before bed he could have something that he really wants:

Isn't that ugly?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


This morning was exciting for the kids because they got to open the first doors on their advent calendars. Both DK and J have a chocolate one that Mum brought over from England and J also has a Lego one with lots of little lego men and things in it.
The weather has taken a noticeably wintry turn today, it is only 3C outside at the moment and it feels rally cold. It's about time that the autumn petered out and we got some proper winter, it has to happen sooner or later so let's just get on with it.

The other exciting event of the day was the drain cleaning man coming in his big truck. DK struggled to contain his excitement at the sight of the big orange truck and MK commented that we were all unusually excited at the prospect of a man in hi-vis overalls cleaning out the drains. Hopefully we won't have any more flooding problems when the next bought of very heavy rain hits and our basement will be dry from now on.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter Weekends

Saturday was the traditional HP family trip to the Jule tide purgatory that is Tivoli at Christmas. The weather was OK, but parking was a nightmare, it took a long time to get a space which turned out to be a private car park that neither we nor the other 30+ cars in there were allowed to use so we all got 510 kr (£55 or $100) tickets. There were millions of people so getting around was rather difficult and keep track of J even harder. Finally when the adults of the family went to see the Danish equivalent of a Christmas Pantomime, we took the kids to Wagamama to eat try and annoy everyone else in there. I think we succeeded.

The day wasn't a total flop, Tivoli was OK, the kids loved the grotto things and I had a great bike ride in the forest in the morning.

Mandy and Troels came over to see us for lunch yesterday and I took it as a good excuse to make a cottage pie that I have been craving since someone else keeps talking about them. That turned out really well, I think as a result of the added thyme and cooking time. I also whipped up a batch of mince pies whilst MK and J make some biscuits as well so there was plenty of fat and sugar to go around.

I realised when I went to bed lat night that the furthest I been from my bed that day was the end of the drive to collect the news paper. Thankfully I am embarking on the Time Crunched Training Plan tonight so that I can try to offload some of the mince pies.

Friday, November 27, 2009


The dynamic duo were back at the hospital yesterday for a progress check and they finally managed to get some useful information about DK's operation. He is now scheduled for 13th January which means that we can relax over Christmas and the new year with the exception of the daily bowel flushing. The second piece of news is that MK has been signed off until DK is 2 years old because he shouldn't start in day care until then. That means that MK will not be back at work before July 2010 and will then have 2 years worth of vacation to use up. Lucky her.

Tonight we are going to watch Father Christmas turn on the lights in Ringsted. He is supposed to be arriving by fire engine so we are all really excited about being there.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reading myself into fitness

When mum arrived last week she was weighed down with a lot of gifts from the family and also some books that I had ordered for myself. One of these is the Chris Carmichael's Time Crunched Cyclist that I have been devouring almost as enthusiastically as I have done the chocolates that we ate last night.

Chris Carmichael is Lance Armstrong's personal coach (a fact that is pointed out to us on almost every page of the book) and has made a lot of money from his training business and many books that he has published. This is the first of his that I have read and so far I think it is pretty good. Instead of taking the training plans and techniques that work for professionals and those with about 15 hours a week to train and reducing the volume to a lower level, he has build a new system based on the principal that you only train 6-8 hours a week. This seems to be a really good idea and given that he accepts that there are drawbacks, I am optimistic that it will actually work.

You train in 11-12 week cycles with 4-6 weeks rest between them meaning that if I start next week, I should be able to improve my performance during the winter mountain bike races, have a breather for a month or so and then get into good shape again for the road racing season in April. In fact it is even better than that because I will be able to take another break in July when the races stop for a holiday month and then go again for the second half of the season through August and September.

Now all I have to do is the training.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Found 'em

After some searching, I have found the results of Sunday's race. I am racing in the mens category where I was 105 out of 206 and overall, that puts me 194 out of 402.

I could barely be any more middle of the pack. So what next? I am hoping to get into the top 1/3 by the end of the races although I suspect that will be tough...

There are also some photo that I happen to be in but none actually of me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for the news

I was planning to write a report of my mountain bike race yesterday as my post today but I have been waiting for the results to be posted. So far nothing...

Friday was a very long day, I got up at 5:30, went to the airport and flew to Århus for the company team building day and Christmas party that went on late into the night. Saturday morning, I got up without too much of a hangover, but rather tired and went home again for a quiet afternoon and a nice meal chez T&B.

Yesterday the weather was crappy, but after making a great big pile of pancakes for breakfast, I loaded up the bike onto the car and set off for the forest north of Copenhagen for the second round of the Slush cup. This was the first actual race as the last round was a time trial to determine which start group you would be in when the racing began.

It was very wet and muddy but thankfully not too cold at around 10C so not really too unpleasant after you got used to the mud in your eyes and mouth. I started at the back of group 4 and managed to hold my place reasonably well during the race. I did 3 laps which took an hour and 15 minutes and felt like enough. My bike was totally blocked with mud by the end, it was getting heavier and the gears were starting to play up so I was happy to stop. Amazingly, the leading 3 or 4 riders managed to lap me in that time which was pretty humbling because I didn't think I was doing too badly!

I really enjoyed the race and am looking forward to the rest of the races although a couple of them are a long way from home on the north coast.

By the time I was home and the bike was cleaned it was pretty much time to get on with making dinner and that was the end of the day for me. When there are some results and pictures posted, I put some up here.

Christmas Presents

Just a note to those of you in the UK, if you receive a parcel from M&S in the next day or so, it contains Christmas presents from us so put it somewhere safe and open it on the 25th. Hopefully there is gift wrapping on the ones for the kids at least, but just to be safe...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good week, bad week

It seems that it was a good thing for me that DKs operation was cancelled because I am really busy at work this week. I have a project going live on Thursday next week that has been running since May and it is struggling to meet any deadlines. (Not my fault, I'm just the project manager!)

This morning I had planned to get up early and ride on the trainer in the basement before going to work. I set my alarm suitably early and then somehow managed to turn it off before I went to sleep. I suppose I'll have to ride tonight before bed now, becuase there is no way I'll be able to ride tomorrow and Saturday is a bit late considering that I have a race on Sunday here:

On another note, it is really nice to have someone visiting who can entertain the kids and do the ironing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Lost Symbol

I don't write many book reviews these days, but I thought this book deserved one. It was poor. If you've read the Davinci Code then you can save yourself the bother of reading either this or Angels and Demons which are in essence the same story in slightly different circumstances.

This is set in Washington DC and the Masons replace the catholic church. There is a female companion, a shadowy figure and an old friend as in the Davinci Code and again a number of puzzles to solve in order to prevent something relatively unimportant from happening. Coupled with this is the writing style which is more like a screen play and the fact that none of the twists or turns is a surprise.

The book was a gift and it was a kind one, but it's not a good book.

Horizontal rain at the zoo

MK, DK, J and Grandma went to the zoo today. Apparently the horizontal rain began just after they bought the tickets and it hasn't eased up since...

I was lucky enough to have work to do so I was at home listening to the rain beating on the windows whilst the others were out experiencing it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Temporary reprive

After all the rigmarole of flushing and blood tests over the last couple of days, we fell at the final hurdle when the anaesthetist gave us a red light for the operation because of DKs cold. Apparently the risk of breathing problems is too great when he has snot in his lungs and an ear infection.

We don't know when the operation will be re-scheduled but at least we can have some more fun with my mum now.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not what I had planned

This weekend was not really what I had intended.

On Saturday morning MK headed off for the last time into town to try and encourage some people to vote for her tomorrow in the local elections. DK, J and I went into town a little later in the morning to offer some support and to pick up some shopping on the way home for lunch. By the time I got around to going out on my bike it was getting a little late and when I had a flat tyre after about 5km, I decided to cut the ride short and just do a local loop before heading home to take J for a ride as it was getting dark. We found J's lights and went for our usual trip over the bridge and back and to visit the hens whilst the chicken cooked in the oven.

Sunday ended up being similarly unproductive but rewarding. MK took the boys to handball in the morning whilst I relaxed a bit and made some pancakes for them to eat when they got home. Then J and I went swimming along with every other person within an hours drive of the pool. It was most unpleasantly busy for the first 30 minutes, but then most people went home for lunch and we had some more space. After lunch J and I made some fairy cakes to get in practice for Grandma's visit this week before I made started work on a toad in the hole for tea.

It was nice to do some stuff with the kids, this is going to be a stressful week and I think the bike riding can wait until it is over and we can breath a little more easily.

This morning I dropped the original dynamic duo off at the hospital, apparently they have to talk to a doctor and have some blood tests today but should be home with us tonight...

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I just want to state that I don't delete comments from this blog. If you think you've left a comment then you should check that you can see it.

It's a bit like bleeding a radiator. Best to check twice that you've closed the valve...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Expensive medical treatment

Flushing DKs bowels is getting expensive.

Last week I ruined a T shirt by splashing bleach on it whilst cleaning up after then event. I didn't mind too much because it was only £2 in M&S.

This evening I demonstrated that an idiot doesn't learn from his mistakes by doing the same to a new long sleeved top that hasn't even been in the washing machine yet. I can't get another because I bought it in France.

As I think I said yesterday about something else - Bollocks

Thursday, November 12, 2009


When we had the floor refinished in the living room in the summer I had to take the stereo out along with all of the other stuff. I hadn't gotten around to re-connecting it until Sunday and to be honest I was enjoying the lack of children's songs and the wireless look of the whole set up. However, at the weekend MK finally got me to reconnect everything. It worked when I tested it although I did notice that the bottom shelf seemed a bit wobbly although I couldn't get the shelf out of the bracket to tighten it up so I simply moved the stereo up one shelf.

When I got home last night MK complained that only one of the speakers was working so I had to have another fiddle to reconnect a speaker wire that had come out of the connector. Whilst fiddling with the cable the shelf fell off the wall onto the now empty shelf below which promptly fell onto the floor.


Thankfully nothing landed on my bare feet because that would have really hurt, but our rather expensive cd player, amplifier and a speaker were sitting on the floor.

The damage:
The cd player no longer recognises that it has discs in it. I suspect that is terminal...
Amp - no problems
Speaker - 2 of the 4 pegs that hold the cover on have broken off, but it works fine so I may just remove the covers from both.

At least we can still play music from my ipod that has all of our cds on it, except for the kids one for now. Sort of a result...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cracking on

This is going to be a busy week. I have meetings this afternoon and tomorrow I have to spend 5 hours driving to and from Viborg for more meetings. I will be pretty tired by the end of the week.

I managed to get myself out of bed with a gentle kick from MK this morning and into the basement for some turbo training on my bike. It wasn't that bad once I had started but I really hate getting out of bed before I REALLY have to. I am working from home on Friday and promise myself to take an hour or so out at lunchtime to get some fresh air out on the bike at last. In the meantime, it's back to work...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An itch that needs scratching

I haven't been on a normal bike ride since last Tuesday and I am getting really fidgety about it. Last night I did my core strength exercises and took it easy after the race on Sunday although to be honest, I don't think I needed or deserved to do so. Tonight I will ride somehow and I hope to do so again tomorrow becuase there is no way that I can ride on Thursday as I will be in Viborg for a meeting meaning an early start and late home.

In the post yesterday I got my new cycling hat. It is 100% merino wool and it seems really nice. a good fit that comes down over my ears and it doesn't see itchy. The only problem is that J seems to like it even more than I do so I think I may have trouble keeping hold of it...

Monday, November 09, 2009

What a tool

This is NOT me, but I did see a few face plants whilst I was there.

The race went well, I didn't fall off, my bike didn't break and I think I did a reasonable time of about 56 minutes.
"About 56 minutes?" I hear you all ask.
"Surely you should know exactly what your time was because you had an electronic timing chip attached to your bike according to the instructions on the Slush Cup homepage. This should record your time precisely"
"Ah yes." I may reply, "what was that about instructions for attaching the chip to your bike? Is it really important to have that plastic thing under the chip?"
Yes apparently it was so I didn't get any times registered for my 3 laps and as a consequence, I will have to start at the back for the first race. I hope I do well enough to move up through the field for the races that follow, but I must admit I was a little disappointed*.
*I was only disappointed that I didn't get the time after all the effort I put in to not have to start at the back for the races. I should have come somewhere between 210 and 225 out of 320 starters so I wasn't exactly setting the field on fire!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Doing the right thing

I just spent 10 minutes downstairs in the basement trying on all of the winter cycling clothing and came to the conclusion that I have plenty of stuff. At the end of the winter I will look out for something on sale to replace the very old jacket that I use when it is really cold, but in the meantime, I need to spend more time riding my bike and less time thinking about how to spend money on cycling accessories.

I suspect MK will agree whole heartedly

Have a good weekend and I hope there will be a report from my mountain bike race on Monday.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cold and damp

The Autumn is showing signs of turning into Winter pretty darned soon over here. Most of the leaves are now off the trees and it is getting colder. I think I'll even have to put the winter tyres on the car before too long. Yesterday was a really wet, grey affair with little to celebrate meteorologically speaking.

A consequence of this cold damp weather is that my bike rides are also getting cold and damp. In the Spring I bought and Assos Element One jersey like this below to keep me warm when the winter came around again. I got a really good price on sale and got it delivered to Boulder.
Unfortunately, it is simply not warm enough now that the temperature is in single figures so I am having to use a few other things instead or as well. The main problem is that the windproof jacket I have as not really breathable enough so I get rather damp inside it and then rather cold as the ride wears on.
I think the solution is an Assos 851 jacket like the ones below. These are limited edition colours and I am rather drawn to the orange for some reason. There is a problem though - the price. I have been selling odds and ends on eBay in the hope of getting enough together to buy one without upsetting MK, but I don't think I've made enough especially with the other purchases that I've made on eBay whilst waiting for my things to sell...

For the time being I am sure I'll survive, but I am still looking for the solution and hopefully it will be rather less expensive than one of these...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lots going on

Yesterday MK and DK were detained in the hospital in CPH for the whole day because there seemed to be some problems with his bowel that was stopping the doctors getting a tube up there to flush him out. In the end it turned out to be just an incompetent nurse, but it had us worried that MK and DK wouldn't be able to go to Manchester today for another appointment.

I have just heard that DKs feet are fabulous and the dynamic duo are off to do the shops in Manchester for the remainder of the afternoon before flying home again later this evening. It will have been a long day for them both.

J and I are going to have a boys evening. Maybe going for a short bike ride in the dark if the rain ever stops and probably eating some pizza at some point.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Slush Cup

This isn't me and I don't think it is GBN either...

I have entered a series of mountain bike races taking place over the winter called the Slush Cup. I think I may be rather stupid to expect anything other than mud, cold feet, a wet arse and numb extremities...

The first race is a time trial this weekend. We will be racing against the clock to see who starts in which group for the first proper race in a couple of weeks. The idea is to minimise the inevitable chaos of having 400 people start a race at the same time by putting the fast guys at the front and the slow ones at the back. I am hoping to be somewhere in the middle, but I suppose I'll just have to wait and see how it goes...

There are 7 races in total, each one lasting 1 hour plus one lap so a maximum of about 1 hour 20 minutes per race. The last race is at the end of February in Sorø with the others spaced neatly through the rest of the long, cold, wet, dark winter. MK is planning on coming along with the boys for the first one, we'll have to wait and see if that is enough spectating for them.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Glad that only happens once a year...

J's birthday is over and we are all exhausted.

On Friday we had guests for birthday cake and coffee in the afternoon ( I was at work for some of this) then MKs family stayed for my home made pizza that was thankfully successful.

On Saturday the mothers group came to visit (meaning 2 mothers and 4 extra kids) MK make some bread rolls and cake type things for them and I went out on my bike for a couple of hours.

Sunday was the turn of J's friends from Nursery. In the end, Simon couldn't make it so there was just Augusta and Esta (?). I made some fairy cakes in the morning and MK we ate the remaining bread rolls.

By the end of the day yesterday we just had enough energy to watch Ironman on DVD which was actually rather good.
Thanks to everyone who gave present to J. He is really happy with all of the gifts that he received.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

They've come out in reverse order but I'm sure you get the picture...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The big day

I have been very busy today and the only time I had to write a blog entry, I decided to spend out on my bike instead. I am 100% certain that I made the right choice, even if it was cold and damp.

J is 4 tomorrow, we have got lots of things planned during the afternoon and the weekend. I will try to get some pictures along the way and post them next week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shopaholic or not?

There have been times in my life when I have been criticised for spending too much money on things I don't need.

Actually, come to think of it, that is probably quite a large portion of my life, but seeing as I have been more or less financially independent for the last 15 years or so I don't think I have ever been completely irresponsible with money. Careless at times yes, but not crazy.

Following on from successful blogs like The Sartorialist, Berlingske (our daily paper) has a section at the weekend where they photograph someone in the street who they think looks cool (or captures the zeitgeist as I have always wanted to say) and ask them various questions about the clothes they are wearing and how much they spend on a monthly basis on clothes. It seems that the average is about 2000kr per month (approx £200 or $350) which always seems like a great deal to me especially when they are asking students and young people.

I started writing this post because I felt like I have spent more money than usual on clothes in the last couple of months than usual and I have been looking for more things online. This is partly because the weather has changed and I am quite a lot smaller than I was last winter so I have needed to buy some new things.

In actual fact, I have only bought a new coat, a down vest and a couple of shirts/t-shirts totalling around 2000kr and that is in at least 2 months. I had a big blow out in August and bought jeans, a belt, a jacket and a sweater in England, but I needed some clothes for work that don't look like they belong in the garden. Juxtaposed to this is the fact that I currently have a number of my cast off items for sale on eBay including a very old ski jacket and a number or pairs or trousers. As it stands at the moment, I will be getting about 1000kr back from them by the end of the day.

So, do I spend a lot or not? I'm not sure, sometimes it seems like a lot, but in relation to these trendy young types, perhaps I am more frugal than I imagined.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doing things you really don't want to do

On Sunday I cleaned the oven, I didn't want to do it, but it has needed to be done for several months so I finally got around to it.

I didn't want to clean the oven, but it was fun compared with our other daily festivities that we have to go through at the moment.

Every day we have to spend about half an hour flushing DK's bowels out with salt water. He hates it. We hate it. Even J hates it because everyone is tense and he gets little attention.

The temptation is to get it over and done with as quickly as possible, but rushing really doesn't help and it is important to do it properly so that his bowels can recover from the stretching that they have had for his first 15 months and be in good enough condition to work properly when the non working bits are removed in November. The consequences of them not working would be a colostomy bag until they are recovered and we don't want to deal with that...
I know it is for his own good, but he doesn't. He just hates it and screams to let us know how he feels about the whole deal. The only positive side is that he cheers up very quickly afterwards and is back to his normal self in 5 minutes or so afterwards.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tubeless success

The first set of tyres I tried to fit to my new wheels would not fit, they were not even close to going onto the rims so that means the Kenda Navegals are out of action. The Racing Ralphs on the other hand fit like a glove and were pretty easy to get fitted and inflated. I didn't realise how horrid liquid latex smells, but it does a good job of sealing up the gaps.

I took the bike for a test ride yesterday in the forest with BHP. He's not a very experienced mountain biker, for all of his road riding experience and he struggled a bit in the mud for a while before breaking his chain and then managing to get very lost on the way back to the car... I'm sorry he didn't have a very good ride, but I had a pretty good time despite the mud and rain. I'll leave the rack on the car for a while to see if I can get back up there again soon.

DK has had new drains put back in both ears this morning. That was general anaesthetic number 5 or 6 I think. I've never had one, but he seems to be getting better at coping with experience and he is over it in an hour or so these days!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ready to roll

The weather has been crap today so I spent rather a lot of time fitting tyres and mudguards to different bikes and then hunting spiders in the basement instead of riding in the cold grey miserableness outside.

Tomorrow morning I am meeting BHP to test out the tubeless tyres if they still have any air in them. I ended up fitting the more summery tyres that I have simply because there was no way in the world that I could get the others onto the new rims. Not even close...

I expect the weather will still be crap but I'm looking forward to my first mountain bike ride in quite some time...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy day ahead

I have a meeting in CPH and MK is taking DK back to the hospital again, but this time just for a meeting with a social worker type of person to decide when she has to go back to work. (MK that is).

My secret mission is to find one of these:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Suddenly I'm busy

I have taken over another project from one of my colleagues so now I am suddenly rather busy at work which is nice for a change although I am sure the novelty will wear off...

I tried to get my new wheels going last night, but I am missing a lock ring so that will have to wait until I manage to locate one before I can try them out. Hopefully I will be able to get one when I am in Copenhagen in the morning so that I can try them out at the weekend...

I am having another go at selling stuff on eBay. I was going to take my clothes that I have grown out of to the charity shop, but seeing as people were prepared to pay silly money for my used cycling clothing, I thought I'd see if they are interested in my work clothes as well. It will be interesting to see if anyone wants my old trousers...

I took the train to work this morning for a change because MK wanted the car to take DK to the hospital and I didn't have time to go with them. It was a total mess and it took me 2 hours to get there. I'll be avoiding that in the future if I can.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big boxes and Big coats

I promised I would show some justification for me buying a new coat. Here is me in my old coat with 2 pillows stuffed inside it. There is enough space to get MK in there, but then there would be nobody to take the picture...
Here I am in the new coat, there is no room for pillows in here and I hope it will keep me warm in the miserable Danish winter that is descending upon us.
A big DPD truck arrived this morning carrying a big box with my name on it. Amazingly enough, my wheels have been built and are now sitting behind me waiting to have the disc rotors installed and some tyres. Hopefully the tubeless system won't cause me any problems as the rim strips and valves are already fitted...

I hope to get them fitted tonight, but I don't think I'll be able to give them a test ride until the weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ignacio Ponseti 1914 - 2009

Despite having reached an amazing age of 95 whilst continuing to work, it is still sad to hear that Dr Ponseti died this week. He seems to have had an eventful and interesting life and his legacy will continue to touch a lot of people around the world for many years to come.

Here is his obituary from Iowa University, it is a little long, but worth reading:

Ignacio Ponseti, MD, whose pioneering, non-surgical, low-cost clubfoot treatment has benefited hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, died Oct. 18 at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics at age 95 following a sudden illness.

Ponseti's gentle methods and soft-spoken compassion were a hallmark of a six-decade commitment to helping children, and belied a sometimes tumultuous, even dangerous, early career in medicine.

Ponseti was born in 1914 on the Spanish island of Minorca. As a teenager, he worked summers in his watchmaker father's repair shop. Hours spent learning to make and replace tiny, delicate watch parts were lessons in patience and precision that would serve him well in the years that followed.

Ponseti entered medical school in Barcelona in 1930 and completed his degree in 1936, just before the start of the three-year Spanish Civil War. Volunteering to serve as a medical officer with the Loyalist army, he spent the war in the Orthopedic and Fracture Service treating battle wounds. By 1939, General Francisco Franco's fascist army had gained control, and Ponseti, fearing imprisonment or worse, chose to leave Spain.

His escape was not a solo effort, however. Ponseti also arranged a risky evacuation for the nearly 40 wounded men in his care. He worked for three days and nights to set their fractures, and then, with the help of local smugglers, he transported the wounded by mule over the Pyrenees mountains to safety in France.

Finding himself with no home or citizenship, Ponseti left France for Mexico, where he served as the community doctor for Juchitepec, a small town south of Mexico City. There, he successfully treated typhoid patients with hydration and bean puree.While in Mexico for two years, Ponseti met Dr. Juan Farril, a professor of orthopedics at the University of Mexico who had trained in the United States. With Farril's assistance, Ponseti arranged to study with Dr. Arthur Steindler, then chairman of orthopedics at the University of Iowa. In 1941, Ponseti moved to Iowa City.

Ponseti's limited English and lack of a medical school diploma (due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War) almost stymied his entry into Iowa's residency program. Fortunately, he was able to explain the situation - in French - to Carl Seashore, then dean of the UI Graduate College, who helped resolve the problem.

After completing his residency in 1944, Ponseti joined the orthopedics faculty at UI Hospitals and Clinics, where he remained for the next four decades treating patients, teaching and conducting research. He retired as professor emeritus in 1984, but returned to the University in 1986 to a consultative practice in orthopedics until he fell ill last Tuesday (October 13, 2009).

Ponseti's work on clubfoot started very early in his UI career in the 1940s. It was obvious that without treatment, children with clubfoot faced a lifetime of debilitation, and even possible amputation. But the surgical treatments used at the time had significant limitations. With nearly 200,000 children born each year with the condition, the need to find a more effective treatment was imperative.

During his first year as a graduate fellow, Ponseti reviewed the outcomes of Dr. Steindler's clubfoot surgical treatment used between 1921 and 1941. Analysis showed that surgical treatment often resulted in stiff, fixed ankles. Moreover, although the treated children could walk, they almost always had a limp.

Ponseti's extensive examination of the anatomy and biology of infant feet, led him to believe that physical manipulation and casting might be a more successful approach. In 1950, Dr. Carroll Larson, head of orthopedics at the University of Iowa, put Ponseti in charge of the clubfoot clinic, where he developed the eponymous method that would slowly but surely revolutionize clubfoot treatment.

Known as the Ponseti method, it involves the careful manipulation of muscles, joints and ligaments held in a series of casts and braces to reposition the foot back to normal. It has become the "gold standard" for clubfoot treatment, after decades of positive follow-up results and numerous international peer-reviewed studies showing success rates as high as 98 percent.

However, for the first 40 years after developing the technique, only Ponseti and a handful of orthopedic surgeons used the method, treating more than 2,000 children. Frustrated by the under-use of his technique, Ponseti and colleagues who had used the technique began making a concerted effort in the 1990s to communicate the method and its successful results to as wide an audience as possible.

Ponseti's book, “Congenital Clubfoot: Fundamentals of Treatment,” published by Oxford University Press in 1996, describes his experience with the method and includes patient studies confirming the success of the approach. A string of peer-reviewed articles, including multi-decade follow-up studies, also helped raise awareness and professional acceptance of the method.

By early 2000, the Web became an effective grass-roots medium, especially among the parents of successfully treated children who advocated the Ponseti method to other families searching for the best treatment for clubfoot. Over the past decade, these educational and advocacy efforts have resulted in the Ponseti method being considered the mainstream treatment for clubfoot in North America today. The technique is increasingly used to help children with clubfoot from underdeveloped regions of the world. In August 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the Ponseti Method.

The Ponseti International Association for the Advancement of Clubfoot Treatment was founded in 2006 at the University of Iowa. The Ponseti International Association aims to improve the treatment of children born with clubfoot through education, research and improved access to care.

Ponseti is survived by his wife, Helena Percas-Ponseti, whom he married in 1960 in Iowa. Ponseti shared a love of art with his wife, who was originally from Spain, as well. Her story of his life, Homage to Iowa: The Inside Story of Ignacio V. Ponseti, was published in 2007. Dr. Ponseti also is survived by his son, Bill Ponseti. Arrangements for a celebration of life are pending

Monday, October 19, 2009

Around we go again

It's been a good weekend in some ways and average in others.

I fell into the usual Danish coat trap on Saturday (that is different from the Darrell Cartrip) and bought a black coat. It was greatly reduced at the outlets and I couldn't be bothered to spend the next 2 weeks agonising over what, where and why to buy online and I do genuinely like this coat. I'll post a picture tomorrow and one of the old coat to show my justification too.

Darrell Cartrip in case you were wondering...

A friend and former boss came over on Saturday afternoon to go for a bike ride and then stayed for some home made pizza in the evening, it was a bit chilly and very windy, but we had a good 75km ride including a few hills and shot the breeze for a couple of hours.

Yesterday the sun was shining so I decided to abort my plans of doing something useful around the house to get out into the forest on my bike. I had a really great 2½ hours or so hammering around the forest roads on my winter hacking bike and was so enthused about the whole forest/autumn thing when I got home that I persuaded the rest of the family to come back to the woods later on for a walk. The walk didn't turn out 100% as planned becuase the paths we chose were rather too rugged for J to ride on his bike and pushing the Bugaboo was retty tough too, but in the end we had fun.

Today MK has had to make another appointment at the ear doctors for DK as the drain fell out of his left ear at the end of last week after he had a ear infection as part of a cold/cough. I suppose he'll be in for another to be implanted in a week or so. We are hoping that he can have some titanium ones fitted next time, not to save weight, but becuase apparently they don't fall out on their own.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter Coats

Yesterday I had to admit defeat and dig out my winter coat as we have been having unusually cold weather. The problem was that I was more or less lost in my duffel coat and had to find something else to wear.

My solution was to wear my older coat that I had when I first moved to Denmark. It is OK, but was replaced because it has holes in the cuffs and is getting a bit scruffy.

Whilst killing a bit of time in Copenhagen before meeting ex colleagues for dinner I looked in the shops at the coats, but absolutely everything was black and boring (and very expensive too, but that is no surprise).

As a result I am sort of on-line fantasy winter coat shopping at the moment. My current favourite is this one, but I'm not sure and more importantly, the holder of the purse strings isn't either...
I am looking forward to a weekend of relaxing and cycling in the cold and wet :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Off the road

I have an incredible wife. This morning she has gone back to work for an all day team meeting and dinner this evening and she looked fabulous in her new work dress despite appearing to have caught J's flu from yesterday.

Another of her great attributes is that she allows me to indulge myself in my two hobbies (spending money on bikes and riding bikes). This week it has been the former that she has helped with the most by letting me order new mountain bike wheels so that I can get back out into the forests to enjoy the autumn colours and get ready for some races over the winter.

The new wheels will be a lot better than the old ones (not only because they will turn with the pedals) being lighter and also TUBELESS. Yes I am going to be running without inner tubes thus saving weight and avoiding punctures at the same time. There is a special rim strip that seals the valve and tyre to the rim and then you put some latex fluid into the tyre that seals up and leaks or punctures as you ride along. Apparently the only thing you have to do is check that there is still enough sealant fluid in the tyres every 8 weeks or so. I can't wait.
Bike geeks will also want to know that they are XT hubs (so I can keep my centre lock rotors and not be bankrupt), black DT competition spokes and black brass nipples.
The wheels are being built in Sheffield so I will have to wait a couple of weeks to get my hands on them, but it is almost impossible to get 29er wheels in Denmark and I am sure it will be cheaper from the UK as well.
That means that I will be able to take part in the Slush Cup this year and get a bit of intensity into my training ready to hit the road again in the spring with enough speed to keep up with the racing dudes.