Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Night Off

Last night the boys stayed with T&B as a dry run for our trip to Vienna in May. Apparently there was no problem for them and I am not really surprised about that at all. What is a surprise is how quiet life is at home without them. We really didn't know what to do with ourselves for a while after MK came home and we couldn't decide where to go or what to eat.

In the end we opted for a walk into Ringsted and dinner at the newish sushi place that is surprisingly good and apparently very popular for take away customers (as we usually are). I suppose that sushi travels fairly well and we were told that some people drive a long way to collect their orders. This morning we slept until nearly 8 and were again reminded how uneventful life is without children. Life will return to normal tomorrow as we enter the long Easter weekend and we can have more than enough of each others company. I guess that will remind me why it is that we are apparently so adamant that 2 are enough.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Improvised puddings

Friday last week was our now usual grown ups dinner meaning that the kids were put to bed before we ate and we had a bottle of wine with the meal. MK complained that it had been a long time since I had last made a desert, specifically a bread and butter pudding so I managed to put one together from one of her home made bread rolls and her excellent home made blueberry and vanilla jam. It was a hit.
Then after K & A visited on Sautrday we were left with 3 choclate muffins which were getting a little ordinary by Sunday evening so I decided to try something new. A chocolate muffin and mascarponi bread and butter pudding.

So slice the muffins into about 4 top to bottom and spread some mascarponi between the slices and re-assemble in the dish with a bit of a slant. Then make the custard as usual (eggs, sugar, cream and milk), pour over the muffins and leave to soak in for a few minutes. Finally sprinkle with sugar and bake until it looks done.
The resuts were not bad at all, although the mascarponi and the custard don't really mix so you get something like the best oreo cookie in the world set in an eggy custard. Now that it is cold though, it has entered a new dimension of deliciousness. Holy unhealthy puddings batman.

Our resident superheroes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Springing into the acceptable half of the year

At last we have made it into the half of the year where the evenings are light enough to enjoy, the weather may not completely suck and we get to contemplate turning the heating off.

J and I went shopping for shoes on Saturday morning. He ended up with these with flashing lights in the soles. I don't really like them at all and they were stupifyingly expensive but there wasn't much choice and he needs new shoes so I was left with little choice. For reference, supifyingly expensive = 600kr (approx £70 or $110).

Yesterday morning I went for a bike ride with some bike club or other becuase most of my club were in Holland this weekend with the juniors for some races. We rode about 115km at a fairly lively pace and I was quite worn out by the time I got home over 3½ hours later. I hadn't planned on being out for so long so I had to jump in the shower and then run straight out again with the family to go to the zoo. Everyone had a great time although J wasn't exaclty an angel throughout the trip.

Now he is home for the week as it is Easter holiday and I heard from MK that she was already tired of having them both at home by 10:00 this morning. It would be a long week except for the fact that the boys are going to stay with T&B tomorrow night and I am off work for Easter from Thursday to Tuesday although I have a project running all weekend which will require some of my time and thoughts.
Next up, mowing the lawn and working out how on earth I am supposed to stop my wheels sticking on the car so that I can't get them off to put the summer wheels on. There isn't much point carrying a spare if you can't get the old ones off, but they seem to rust themselves on over the winter and I can't get them off.
In the meatime, I am planning to replace the windscreen and all 4 tyres on the car whilst we are in the UK to help recoup some of the travel costs. I think I can get back about 2000kr on the windscreen and probably more on the tyres...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Super Busy

I have been working very long hours the last couple of days and driven accross Denmark and back today so there isn't much to blog about.

I'm getting ready for some wine, dinner and bed tonight but next week should be better as it seems that most of Denmark will be on vacation.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2 birthdays in 1

Apparently a mere 34 years after the last Millard of my generation arrived, another one turned up yesterday! There is one advantage to that, I only have to remember 1 birthday for both my brother and half sister but it is in our busiest birthday period of the year with B, T, A, K and others all around the same time.

Congratulations to everyone and I hope you are all home soon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Ben

I hope you have a great day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

VVS man cometh

Today we are getting a visit from the VVS man(heating, water and sewerage I think) and an alternativ energy dude to talk about getting some solar panels, earth heating, new oil burning stove or connection to the local heating system thing. Given that we have so many alternatives and that we also want to know what effect it may have on us adding an extra floor in the roof space, I am almost certain that we will not get much of any use from them. There are simply too many variables for them to cope with.

I expect the answer will also mean that we need completely new radiators and piping, not to mention a new chimney. I guess time will tell.

I haven't ordered it yet, but I think I'm getting one of these to replace my dying Garmin 305:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is arriving

I did a 3½ hour bike ride yesterday morning which left me pretty tired for the rest of the day. Thankfully I think we have now said goodbye to the winter and can get on with some spring time. My bike computer seems to be dying so I am looking at some options to replace the head unit and keep the heart rate monitor and speed/candence sensors that I alread have. Garmin edge 500 here I come...

MK's appointment at the eye doctor to see if she could have lazik surgery has been cancelled today becuase the guy was sick. That means that she won't know if she can have the treatment until after Easter and she is sick of wearingglasses, but will have to keep them on for another couple of weeks.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Health check

My blood pressure was at the high end of acceptable yet again and apparently I could lose another 3kg, but otherwise I am in fine health. Cholesterol, haemaglobin and blood sugar levels are all fine and he was impressed that I have dropped 7kg since he last saw me.

Apparently my lean mass is now 76kg and when I told him that I had a goal of weighing 90kg he said that seemed rather low and that it would be a battle to stay that lean. His advice was to go for about 94kg which is certainly nice to hear.

Tonight we will be missing the normal adult dinner because I have to work at a customer site for the evening. Hopefully we will have some dry weather this weekend to enjoy the fact that the snow has now pretty much gone.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Health check

Tomorrow I have a health check at work. I'll be weighed and measured and checked for cholesterol, blood sugar and a bunch of other things. I will of course be completely stressed about the blood pressure test and it will, of course, be on the top end of acceptable. I never really know if it is inherently high or high as the result of testing anxiety.

I am about 5kg lighter than I was when I had this done last year so I hope that the figures will be better for body fat but my blood tests were already all quite good. All I needed to do was get the blood pressure down and I expect I will be told that I still need to lose another 5-10kg depending on how skinny I want to get.
Last spring I was really motivated to shed some weight so that I had a fighting chance of completing the Marmotte bike race in the Alps. This year, I am already in better shape than last and I don't have the mountains looming in the distance as a motivator so I keep failing some of the simple tests. Sugar is too easily consumed and butter too liberally applied. I know that I am intending to take part in a number of bike races this year and I have been training quite consistently over the winter but I can't quite bring myself to turn down a piece of cake. Perhaps I need to sign up for the Marmotte again, I didn't manage to achieve my goal of getting the gold award anyway.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


MK and I have been considering a weekend away without the kids for quite some time and now that DK is functioning normally we thought the time had fianlly come. Actually DK had a checkup on Monday and it turns out that he's not gaining any weight so we are force feeding him butter and chocolate, but that is another matter.

So, inspired by some dodgy 80s song lyrics and a grumpy Austrian/Mancunian friend we decided to give Vienna a try for our weekend off. We are going in May so hopefully it will be warm although MK is under the impression that it rains all the time in Autria so we'll have to pack some waterproofs.

MK has alrady been to the library to get a guide book although I have assured her that there are no museums worth visiting she seems determined to find some. I have looked for opera tickets but found that Carmen is sold out and the magic flute is not, but tickets range from €90 to €2500 so I thing we may look for something a little more low key. We are staying here:

I am sure that the advice from Manchester will be to eat cake, eat schnitzel and drink beer...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Snow snow and more snow

DK had  a hair cut at last

J's gymnastics show = a chance to race agains SH...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring coming very slowly

There is still ice in the sea and snow in the garden. The forest floor is covered in snow and whilst out cycling on Sunday morning, I had to get off and walk across sheets of ice 3 or 4 times. However, there as some small yellow flours appearing around the edge of the garden and the ice on the car in the mornings is not very thick these days.
I have managed to fit in a decent bike ride both days this weekend and even abandoned the outer shell jacket in favour of a thick wool one with a windproof front. The real result was that my arms were cold most of the time but it did feel a little less wintry anyway.
I'm looking forward to getting some good riding in the summer and having another crack at road racing. Mountain bike racing is fun but unless you are out front (I never am) you are really only racing yourself and one or two others near you. On a good day you may be 45th, on a bad day 60th but it doesn't really make too much difference other than how you feel. However, in road racing you are in a category meaning that you are racing against people of a similar level to you. If you can stay with the main bunch to the end of the race, there is always a chance (admittedly remote) that you could win or at least place in the top 5. That is the main appeal to me at the moment, I would like to be elbow to elbow with someone trying to win something, even if it isn't anything particularly glamorous. It may not be the winning that matters, but sometimes taking part means more than coming in the middle of a field of 300.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Alarm misery

I am out of practice at using my alarm clock. Unless I have an early meeting, I rely upon the kids and natural processes to wake me up in the morning and this is pretty much always before 7 these days.

This morning I had to get up at 5 to get a 7 flight. Unfortunately I managed to fail to set my alarm clock properly so it didn't go off. I woke up at 5:45 #¤%ing /#&¤(#"!!!

I was showered and shaved and out of the house at 5:55, I got to the airport at 6:28 and was through security at 6:35 so had time to spare. I was lucky that it was a domestic flight and I had already checked in but I was amused to notice how 140kmph feels like being held up in traffic when you have been doing >180kmph...

I'll be dirving home much more slowly and looking forward to a good weekend of cycling in sleet and snow.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Too much happening here

I don't have time to write much at the moment as I am running from 1 meeting to the next and trying to fit in some life, exercise and that sort of thing.

Last night there was no bike riding, I made a green curry stir fry with some king prawns and then MK and I did an hour of Pilates afte the kids had gone to sleep and before we did. It was nice and relaxing. J woke up during the night to show us that he has conjunctivis and so he looked like a boxer this morning. Some eye drops are on the way so he'll be ok in no time.

Tomorrow I am out all day at a meeting so I guess this will be a thin week on the blogging front. I will try to get some pictures posted at some point though...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Alternative energy

I could do with an alternative energy source for my own personal use, but that is not what I am thinking about today. Having browsed through the brochures that we got at the weekend last night, I simply cannot understand how we can simply put a box outside our house and magically take enough heat from the outside air to warm outr house and hot water when the air temperature is down to -20C. If it were that easy, then everyone would do it. I can only suppose that it uses a lot of electricity. The next option is the ground heating whereby you busy enough piping in the ground around your garden to take heat from the earth. In our case that apparently mean about 400m which will not fit in unless we make 4 holes, each 120m deep straight down in the garden. Again, I suspect that this will be very expensive to install and not that cheap to run. Finally we have the solar option, this will not provide all of the heating that we need, but can, at best, provide 70% of our hot water and 30% of the heating. The rest has to come from oil, gas or I suppose electricity. I have a feeling that we will have to go for the oil as there is no gas and the cost of connecting to the local heating is prohibitive.

All this consideration of upgrading the heating system is actually something that we are considering along with the posibility of making some changes to house. We are considering adding bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs or at least making some changes through the house and whilst we're making a mess, it may as well be a big one...

Monday, March 08, 2010

And on it goes

Last week was pretty hectic and this week looks to be much the same.
I did manage to ride with the bike club both days over the weekend. Saturday was 2½ hours of hard work, but OK. Sunday was worse as it was the hardcore guys and I had to let discretion be the better part of valor after 1:15 and head for home. We had been hammering at >35km/h for the duration and the plan was to ride about 125km. I can't do that so I would have had a long ride home on my own and been dead for the remainder of the day.
Instead of killing myself on my bike, we went to a small local exhibition of alternative energy things for the home. We are considering the options for changing our oil heating at some point because it is rather expensive to run now that heating oil is ~80 pence per litre (compared with 40-45 pence in England I see) so we have looked at heat exchanger that take warmth from the ground or the air and also solar panels. Solar looks good but is not enough on it's own so that may already be out. Now we need to see how good the payback is on the heat exchangers before we do anything dramatic. The tedium of domestic life eh?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'm as busy as a bee

So I don't really have time for this.

Last night on my long drive home I had to stop for fuel. There was a special offer on chocolate

1 large bag of peanut M&Ms
1 Large bag of Maltezers
1 large KitKat


I had to do a specially hard bike session and then the advanced pilates workout to be able to sleep with something resembling a clear conscience. Tonight it will be more of the same.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Early mornings and insomnia

Normally the kids wake us up in the mornings and we are all out of bed around 7 these days. This morning I had to get up at 6 in order to drive accross the country to our head office so I set the alarm clock at bedtime and tried to get some sleep. The problem is that when I have not used the alarm clock for a while and I also know that I need to get out of bed early, I tend to sleep badly because I worry too much about oversleeping. In the end I woke up every hour or so during the night to check the time until J came in to see us at about 5:30 at which point I realised that the opportunity for a good nights sleep was passed.

In the end I had a uneventful journey and arrived at the head office only a little later than planned and ready for another busy day.

I suspect that the drive home will, however, be somewhat more difficult if only becuase I'll be fighting to stay awake. I supose I can spend the time worrying about stuff, that seems to help keep me awake on plenty of other evenings...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Smartening up a bit

I have been accused in the past of spending too much on clothing. I don't actually think that I have or do spend too much on clothes although I may be able to admit that I have more clothes than I actually need. Nonetheless, as SPring is hopefully just around the corner, I have been inspired to smarten myself up a bit and try to stop looking scruffy quite so much of the time.

My plan is to attack the problem on 2 fronts. Firstly I have decided that I am now old enough to stop wearing Tshirts with oversized brnading, writing or logos printed on them outside the house. Secondly, I think I can safely get rid of clothes that are too big or worn out.

The second part is to take advantage of the newly created space in the wardrobe to add a few new items. Yep, I've been shopping but I don't think I've quite finished yet...

More excitingly it seems that MK has decided to update her wardrobe by getting rid of her glasses and lenses and getting lazik surgery on her eyes. I suppose that the kids will need some new clothes too at some point when the weather changes, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Slush Cup #7

Yesterday was the last round of the Slush Cup mountain bike race series and was conveniently located in Sorø (about 10 miles up the road). The weather was actually quite nice being +4ish C and with the odd bit of sun. I was also feeling fairly smug about the amount of training I have managed in the last week although I was also a bit tired after 3 hours in the saddle on Saturday.

Anyway I rode my bike to the race site and got myself in the middle of the pack on the start line as I was supposed to and got a rally great start. I think I passed about 30 people on the opening loop around the stock piles of the quarry where the race was help. Unfortunately it was downhill from there and not at all in the gravity assisted descending way.

I am 4th from the left above.

We headed out into 20-30 cm (foot) deep slush and snow around another part of the quarry, through rivers of mud and then out into the forest for a long walk/run with the bikes. I fell off repeatedly and in just about every way imaginable in the deep, heavy snow and mentally gave up about half way through the lap. I did manage to get through the whole thing and I suppose on reflection it was sort of fun although I was very wet and muddy at the end.

Final result for the day, I was 60th out of 98 and overall I was 125th out of 268 for the Slush Cup. I thought that was OK considering that I missed 2 rounds (1 whilst DK and MK were in hospital and 1 because of illness)
Now I am looking forward to the summer version of the series, the Dust Cup and getting some road racing done as well.