Friday, January 30, 2009

Really long week

This week has been looooong.
Monday was a day home sort of working, but basically sick.
Tuesday was a normal work day, but with a rotten cold
Wednesday was trying to entertain a not very sick J for the day whilst trying to work at home also with a cold
Thursday was a VERY bad day at work although as least I still have a job
Friday has been another pretty bad day at work, lots of stress and a bad atmosphere. The cold is still here too.

So I have not had any exercise for more than a week and I am rather stressed, but now it is the weekend and I can take it easy, do some fun stuff and hopefully say goodbye to the cold.

The weather is cold and grey and set to stay that way plus or minus a little snow. On the plus side, DK is making great progress with his feet and now eating lots of slop and getting fat and happy. That is lovely to see.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the nice little bits.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The futility of blogging

There are some people who get paid to blog and there are others who have some influence either on society in general or a specific little niche about which they write. I fear that I fit into neither of these categories. I believe I fall into the category of bloggers without significance. (This is not self pity, I am quite happy with the blogging "space" that I occupy.)

Each year the Bloggies award prizes to all manner of different blogs based on their geography, subject matter or any number of other categories

A brief glance at the list of winners will immediately make it clear that blogs about family life rarely make the grade, that is unless they are extremely well written and generally stay on-topic.

Mine is neither well written nor specific in it's subject matter. I just hope that the 50-100 visits that I seem to get each day are not considered a total waste of time, that is until they create a category of "Best average family based blog with a side interest in cycling written by an English guy". Then I may be in for a shout in the longevity sub-category.

Finally, we are really happy with the news that DK will only be in his brace for another month full time before cutting down to sleeping time only. I think he will be really happy with the extra freedom and will be propelling himself around the house in no time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

News from Manchester

The news from Booth Hall Children's hospital is better than the news was from the airport. Rather than risk having all of the baby food confiscated at security MK decided to check in a bag full of bottles and cartons on baby milk along with some spare clothes. Unfortunately those are now somewhere at CPH and we hope to get it back tomorrow!

As for the hospital, apparently DK is doing really well. He has been given a new pair of boots that attach to his brace and will only have to wear the brace full time for another month before cutting back to only wearing it when he is asleep.

Great News!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The sickness continues

Yesterday I got the badge for the most ill person in the family, but J took that from me today. He has been home from Nursery again today and will be tomorrow as he has had a fever all day today. That means that rather than getting up very early tomorrow and taking MK and DK to the airport, they can take themselves and I get to stay home for the day looking after J.

I am hopeful that our DVD club discs will be with us by then so that we can watch Ratatouille and generally take it easy whilst I try to get some work in.

Having spoken to G of elevenses fame last night we looked into the prospect of the usual Easter week in England. Having priced up the travel costs both by air and by water/ground, it seems that it is out of our price range at the moment, even before we take into account the fact that I wont get paid for the time off, it will cost almost £1000 just to get there! We were amazed.

Anyway, I am looking forward to another day at home tomorrow and I hope that MK and DK have a successful trip to Manchester for their check-up.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Death bed

Being a man and having a cold are not compatible things really. I think I have already mentioned that I caught a cold last week and I have spent the weekend wallowing in self pity and Kleanex. I also seem to be developing a cough to go with it. I am working at home today to try and get over the cough and avoid giving it to any more of my colleagues.

J has now caught my virus and so he is moving straight into the cough/cold thing on the back of the impetigo and 5th disease thing. Hopefully he will be back at nursery tomorrow so that we can all get ready for MK and DKs trip to England on Wednesday.
What I really need is some of that death cough syrup that knocks you out for 24 hours at a time...

Friday, January 23, 2009


J has impetigo and is on antibiotics. We just have to hope that none of the rest of us get it´.
Now that I know it is very contagious my face suddenly seems rather itchy.

That sinking feeling

You just know when you are getting a cold. First come the tiredness, then the slightly sore throat and then that sinking sensation as you feel your body succumbing to the virus. That is what happened to me yesterday afternoon.
I had hoped that if I skipped training for the night and went to bed early I may wake up this morning having beaten it off, but that was not to be. I guess I'll just have to deal with it and do last nights training session tonight instead of the planned night off.

The weather forecast for the weekend is miserable, rain, sleet and snow with the temperature hovering around 0 C for the duration. We have guests on Saturday evening so at least there will be some cooking to be done in and around the 15 or so shirts to be ironed...

One good thing that I have managed to achieve during January is to stick to my healthy eating plan. Really it is a diet and feels a lot like one, but the overall goal was to get into good eating habits that I can stick to in the long run, not just to shed some weight in the short term. Part of the regime is that I weigh myself each morning and I am monitoring this in a nerdy ex-consultant spreadsheet. The great thing is that the trendline is heading in the right direction. If it ceases to do so at some point I'll probably give up, but I hope I don't need to do that. Ever!

This second graph shows that I will cease to exist sometime around April 2010.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something that's been missing

I have been wittering on a lot about bikes, training and stuff, but I know that many of my readers (should that be a large proportion given that there may not be many?)are really only interested in pictures of my kids.

J has got some really nasty dry skin or something around his mouth after this illness last week. I think he'll be off to the doctors tomorrow...

D has progressed to eating at the table with us. He doesn't eat much but seems to really enjoy being part of the meal, the biggest hit so far has been a pizza crust.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Going nowhere fast

That is how it feels sitting on a stationary trainer for an hour in the basement. You get a bit sweaty and rather uncomfortable and it is dull dull dull.
Last night I watched the first half of the Bourne Supremacy which did help to alleviate the boredom, but tonight I have to do 2 hours and I am not sure I can handle the tedium for that long. I'll watch the second half of Bourne and then see what there is to watch from our DVD collection. I am looking forward to some lighter and warmer days and evenings...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Getting Started

It seems that J is still not well, the red smacked cheeks are still there and his skin is dry and itchy around his mouth. Unfortunately his solution to this is to keep licking around his mouth and this is just making matters worse. Being both male and 3 years old, he is not going to listen to anyone so he'll just keep doing it.

Last night I made chicken Kiev without a recipe and got the whole meal on the table in about 40 minutes from walking in the door. I was quite pleased with it but for the sake of my waistline, I must get away from his new habit of dipping everything in egg and breadcrumbs and frying it.

Anyway, what I really wanted to write about today is that I have started my efforts to raise some money for charity with my cycling this year. The first and so far most difficult thing I have had to do is to decide on a charity to support. I have decided on CURE International who build and run hospitals in the developing world with a focus on treating clubfoot and cleft lip/palate. By only reservation is that they are an openly Christian charity who oddly list praying as a useful contribution to their activities. I suppose it isn't hurting anyone and it seems that they are otherwise a well run organisation who are focusing on problems that mean something to me as well.

I'll elaborate over the coming days how I hope to raise some money, but in the meantime, I have created a Just Giving page that allows anyone to donate to my fund raising directly. Have a look here: to see how little progress I have made so far...

Monday, January 19, 2009

All the 2s

Yesterday I spent 2 hours and 20 minutes cycling at 2 degrees (C) and it was raining for most of that. I got home cold and tired, but happy that I had got out before the rain arrived (otherwise I wouldn't have gone) and happy that I am starting to feel a little fitter. I also managed 6 hours in the saddle last week so things are coming on slowly.

The weekend has been relaxing, if a little odd. It started with J going to T&B to stay the night on Friday, he has been struck down with Erythema Infectiosum which is called Lussingesyge in Danish (literally slapped face disease) and seems to sometimes be called the 5th disease in English as it is the 5th Childhood disease classified at some point along with measles, scarlet fever and rubella (I don't know the fourth one!) Anyway, he has had red swollen cheeks and a fever since Thursday, but seems to be getting better now and will probably be back in nursery tomorrow.

Last week we decided to join an online DVD rental service so that we can get films and tray to watch them bit by bit before MK goes to sleep each evening at 8:30. On Friday we watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull. I am not surprised that it didn't do too well, the movie world has developed quite a lot since the last of these films was made, but this one has not really moved with the times. It was a bit slow, very silly and Harrison Ford looked really old. MK enjoyed it, I thought it was just about OK, but I was glad I hadn't paid to go to the cinema to see it.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I managed to get an hour and a half on the trainer last night followed by some core strength exercises, that meant that I was late to bed, but thankfully a little lighter this morning.

J was not well last night and basically slept right through from about 6pm to this morning. He is off to T&B this evening so we have a night almost off. It's also the weekend so Whoopee.

Just an hour to do on the trainer tonight and then some road or trail miles over the weekend depending on the weather.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sitff as a board

Since my visit to the Chiropractor last Friday I have had something of a stiff neck and back. On Tuesday it was worse although it didn't stop me cycling and doing some core strengths exercises that I thought might help. Maybe it did help because yesterday was better.

Today, however, I feel like this:

I don't know what has caused it, I suspect it was picking up a child or two in an awkward way, but it may also be cycling related from the weekend. I just hope it goes away and I will stick with the exercises in the meantime.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hitting the road... or not

Yesterday I left my laptop at work so that I would be able to cycle to work this morning should I wish to.
Having spent an hour on the trainer in the basement before bed last night, I came to a couple of conclusions:
Firstly, the trainer is not that bad, I watched half a movie, I was warm and dry, it was light and most importantly I didn't have any punctures. I admit it is a little boring and I don't think you get as good a workout as you do on the road, but it is not that bad.
Secondly, I decided that I could not see any reason to cycle to work again until the weather gets a little better, it is a little lighter in the mornings and I actually feel like doing it. My guess is that these three key ingredients will come together in about March, but who knows. I was certainly glad not to be on my bike this morning as it turned out to be cold, dark, wet and also foggy for a bonus

In other news, J is gradually making progress on the pant wetting front, last week he got through 6 pairs one day, but so far this week we only seem to be getting through 1 or 2 pairs a day.
D is doing well, although he is teething so there is a lot of grizzling and not much being left alone going on. We have also been referred to the main hospital in Copenhagen to find out what to do with the missing testicle. Unfortunately it looks as though there may be another operation on the horizon in order to try and put it where it's supposed to be.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cranking it up a notch

I with the exception of last Tuesday when a work incident got in the way, I have pretty much been following my training plan for a couple of weeks now. I went to the Chiropractor on Friday for my quarterly clicking and I have even been going to bed earlier.

The result? My weight has not changed for a week and my neck and back are very stiff and aching. WTF is that all about?

In order to try and make some progress in the right direction (feeling better and getting lighter) I am going to do two things.

Firstly I will have to try and exercise some more stringent portion control and secondly I am going to try to do some core strength exercises 3 times a week based on these body weight exercises for cyclists. I'll report back on progress with these in a couple of weeks.

More immediately I need to decide how to have my hair cut this evening. I am toying with the following:

What a sh!t-head!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Birthday weekend

It was MK's birthday on Saturday so she got to chose what we would do for the day. That started with present, buttermilk pancakes and then me taking J to the supermarket and a few other shops. Our mission to was get a few essentials and a food processor of some sort or other and frankly speaking, we outdid ourselves with this:

It worked beautifully making meringues for the birthday cake and was about half place at the outlets, so we were all happy. MK was also very happy with her birthday presents that included a sewing machine, Red wellie boots and an orange suede jacket.

I went for a cold damp bike ride in the afternoon and of course had a flat puncture. So far I have had more punctures that outdoor rides this year, I hope this will not continue...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Williams Big Gut

In November I started another blog called Williams big gut and the plan was to post my weight there each day in an effort to lose a bit of flab.
I managed 4 days before I got bored of doing that. I am too good at remembering to do things like weighing myself each morning and I am sure it was not interesting to anyone anyway.

Since January 1st I have been on The New Year Diet, meaning that I have been eating healthily, in controlled portions and not snacking or eating cake. So far so good, but if I want to reach my "race weight" by the end of June I need to make consistent progress.
There is a good website call that allows you to find out what your ideal weight is and how to get there. It is a great site, you can enter your current weight and your goal weight and then determine how long it will take at a given calorific deficit or in my case, the date you want to be that weight by and it will tell you how many calories to deprive yourself of each day. In my case it is just under 500 which is more or less the same as a Starbucks grande latte and a Mars bar. If only I had one of each of those each day it would be really easy to see how to drop the calories out of my diet, but unfortunately I don't so I'm having to make it up as I go along.
So far I am
  • Riding my bike according to my training plan (6 hours this week)
  • Not eating between meals
  • Not eating cake, sweets or chocolate
  • Eating more veges and salad at lunch
  • going to be hungry (it sucks)

So far I am actually 2.5kg less that I was on January 1st, but still 1kg heavier than I was last time I posted on williamsbiggut in November.

Lots of work to be done especially if I ever want to reach the 89kg (14 stone or 196lb) that I apparently should weigh! For the record I am aiming for 95kg in June and if I can continue on that path 90kg in September for the Trans Austria race.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

All the Pretty Horses

Yet another cultural post, this time a book review.

Having read The Road by Cormac McCarthy during the summer, I was a little unsure as to whether I would enjoy or even finish this book before I started reading it. However, having been assured that it was worth the effort, I took the plunge. The story is of a young man travelling from Texas to Mexico with a friend on a horse when horses were apparently a more normal mode of transport (1948 I just discovered thanks to google). The story is beautifully written although there were more than a few moments when I found myself wishing that my Spanish was good enough to understand the odd conversation that is thrown in untranslated.
This was a really good book and I can see that it was made into a film in 2000 as many of his others books have (No Country for Old Men being an obvious example) and I am also dismayed to see that The Road will be released in 2009 with Viggo Mortensen starring. I guess a Danish actor is fairly appropriate given the miserable nature of the story and the similar leanings of Scandinavian cinema.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Prairie Home Companion

One of the stranger thins that I have become a fan of during my trips to the US is a radio show called A Prairie Home Companion and in particular the "news from Lake Wobegon" that Garrion Keiller writes and reads each week. When I got home after my short skiing visit in November 2007 I found the podcast and have been listening to it each week since then.

This week I was happy to see that the movie was being shown on Danish TV and so sat awkwardly on our re-positioned sofa to watch it. My conclusions were as follows:
  • Garrison Keiller has a great face for radio
  • There is a good reason that this is a radio show and not a TV series
  • Woody Harrelson is a surprisingly good singer
  • There was no news from Lake Wobegon in the film
  • and finally it was pleasantly brief
You can have a look at the website here and get the podcast here

I will still listen to and enjoy the podcast and next I can read the Lake Wobegon book that I was bought for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Words of the year

2008s words of the year are something of a dissapointment to me to be honest, these are apparently the short list

leisure sickness (noun): a purported syndrome, not universally recognized by psychologists, by which some people (typically characterized as workaholics) are more likely to report feeling ill during weekends and vacations than when working
overshare (verb): to divulge excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions ranging from alarmed discomfort to approval
cyberchondriac (noun): a hypochondriac who imagines that he or she has a particular disease based on medical information gleaned from the Internet
selective ignorance (noun): the practice of selectively ignoring distracting, irrelevant, or otherwise unnecessary information received, such as e-mails, news reports, etc.
youthanasia (noun): “ … the controversial practice of performing a battery of age-defying medical procedures to end lifeless skin and wrinkles; advocated by some as a last-resort measure to put the chronically youth-obsessed out of their misery … Think of it as mercy lifting.” —Armand Limnander, New York Times

My favourite is youthanasia, but we'll have to wait until 9th January for the final result to be announced.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Brass Monkey

I am gradually getting back into a groove with the exercise thing and watching what I eat. At the moment, this is still a novelty and I am sure it will wear off in due course.

Yesterday I rode for a couple of hours in sub zero (Celsius) temperatures on my winter/commuter bike. For the first time it worked as intended and I managed and entire trip without a puncture. Truly a result.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I am not in as bad shape as I feared I may be and I managed around 50km without feeling too tired.

What should have been exciting was getting my new bike computer calibrated and working correctly. This computer is able to calculate your power output based on measuring environments and physical conditions. There are accelerometers built into it that measure the head wind being experienced, acceleration, gradient etc and a speed sensor. This combined with information about the rider and bike size and weight are used to calculate the number of Watts that you are producing. Apparently this is fairly accurate too!

One the down side, nothing with an LCD works well below 0 Celsius and it states in the handbook that the battery life is 40-80 hours in the warm and 4-6 hours at 7 C.

Perhaps this will have to wait for some warmer weather...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sale shopping

Yesterday I took a brief afternoon trip to the outlets in Ringsted. By their standards it was quite busy, meaning that there were about 20 people there in total. I don't see how the place can survive when there is never anyone there shopping.
Anyway there was a good sale on at the Nike store and I got a GoreTex ski jacket for about 25% of the original price, a pair of trousers and a pair of Jeans from Levis. All in all it was a successful trip.

Here is DK in his Christmas present doing a commando crawl (without moving). We're not letting him out in the garden in it for fear of losing him.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Get your 2009 on

It's a gentle way back into working today with a day working at home. I had 2300 mails in my inbox at the start of the day and it has taken most of the day to file them all.

It has been below freezing all day and there has been frost on the ground for about 3 days now so I have not been able to face going out on my bike. Today I am not going to be able to avoid it any longer, I will have to get the turbo trainer going in the basement. I need to get my training plan posted on the fridge so that MK can bully me into completing it. I am also going to start posting my weight on the fridge too. I couldn't be bothered to keep it post on my other blog, but I think I can scribble it on the fridge. For the record it has gone up over Christmas, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone!

Tonight: begins the year of the cabbage. Damn it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Got new door

As they say here, or happy new year!

I can't be bothered with new year resolutions this year, they never last anyway. I have to get in shape, lose some weight and so on, but that's nothing that today's declarations will change.

We had a quiet night at home. Dad and M went home at about 8 and then we cleared up and crashed out for a couple of hours before bed. Today has been spent mostly trying to keep warm!