Thursday, June 30, 2011

Packed and ready to go

Yesterday afternoon I changed the tyres on my bike ready for the big race this weekend. Unfortunately I found that I had bought two different sized tyres so I have had to make a detour to the bike shop this afternoon on the way between meetings to swap the tyre and fit the new one in the car park to protect the wheel in the bike bag. (A 2 minute job admittedly.)

So now it is off to the airport to meet BHP and head south for some good weather and mountains.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Retirement BHP

MKs dad has his last day at work today before retiring.

We are off to Grenoble tomorrow to ride the Marmotte together, apparently he is planning to spend most of his time cycling from now on, so let's hope that it all goes to plan.

In the meantime, the sun is shining and summer has finally arrived in Denmark in time for the school holidays. J and DK have their last days in their respective day care tomorrow before J starts school in August and DK moves to Børnehave (kindergarten or nursery for 3 to 6 year old depending on language).

It's all change and I am looking forward to our short weekend break before a couple of weeks at work and a longer holiday to follow.

Enjoy the sunshine everyone

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I cut the boys hair in the garden last night with our new clippers. It turns out that the ones I bought for £5 7 years ago aren't very good compared with the news ones which were significantly less cheap.

Now I am considering doing my own hair as it is thinning to the point of transparency all over the place...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Room for improvement

It was another active weekend for us. J was at a friends birthday party on Saturday afternoon and the rest of us were invited to the extended party in the evening. I spent the afternoon painting the living room ceiling again with some turpentine based paint which has thankfully remained white when it dried. 4 hours with one hand above your head and looking upwards has some odd effects but thankfully, MK agreed with me that the finish is good enough and I have put the curtains and furniture back where it belongs.

Sunday was my first (real) bike race of the season. I was out by 06:20 to drive to the north of Copenhagen for the 08:01 start. My only real motivation for going was to collect my racing license that I need next weekend in France, but it seemed churlish to drive all that way and not take part. The race was 70km conveniently made up of 10 laps of a 7km course. I knew I wouldn't be able to stay with the group for the duration as I am not fast enough. I haven't been doing any real speed work so my expectations were low. I did manage to stay with them for 25km before I got dropped. I then rode another 25km on my own before I decided that I'd had enough and retired. It's a bit humiliating to be honest, but I think it is just a part of bike racing and you have to accept that it happens. I hope and expect that I'll be able to hold the 40kph average that the group rides at by the end of the season and then maybe I can think about a full season and some points next year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bank Managers and Dinner

We outsourced the kids on Wednesday afternoon so that we could meet with our bank manager who is (inconveniently) located north of Copenhagen. We agreed that we can borrow some money to get the house renovations done and after having been assured that there was nothing to worry about, we headed into Copenhagen for a bit of very light shopping and dinner.

The shopping didn't get beyond Illums Bolighus where I got a shirt in the sale and MK got another Mumin bowl and then we had an excellent meal at CoFoCo (Copenhagen Food Company) the highlight of which (for me at least) was a cheese course with goats cheese with rhubarb, blackberry syrup and home made crisp bread. I can't really believe how much I enjoyed it, but the combination was excellent. The desert was very good too - buttermilk panna cota with strawberries done in 3 different ways (cooked, raw and sorbet)

Now we need to get the builders sorted out so we know who is going to do what and when. I suppose we really need to decide once and for all what we are going to do as well.

I have my first road race of the year on Sunday. I am expecting to get my ass handed to me on a plate, but I need to show up to collect my race license for the Marmotte next weekend and seeing as I'll have to travel to the race site anyway, I may as well race.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Did it!

I finally got myself together to get out with the bike club again last night. It was about a year since I last rode with them and my health and fitness have been through some serious ups and downs in the meantime. It is almost exactly a year since my back gave out and left us cancelling our holiday and me lying on the floor for 3 weeks.

My back gradually improved though the summer and autumn, but I couldn't really motivate myself to make an effort to get fit again until the first months of 2011 and it has been a fairly long, slow struggle to be fit enough to ride with the guys from the club again. They will give you a bit of slack, but if you're hanging off the back too much, it won't go down well, you either keep up or go home.

The great news is that I kept up. It was a bit of a shock to the system to be hammering along at 35kph in a group instead of riding on my own, but I stayed with them for most of the ride and Hanne was there to keep me company when the faster guys picked up the speed and left us behind during the interval session.

I was happy to be home after nearly 3 hours riding and about 90km, but I survived and I feel like I am a cyclist again rather than a recovering slipped disc patient. That excuse is no longer valid.

For the record, my weight is not 94kg so I have dropped 10kg since the diet started along with the training. There's still plenty of lard around my middle, but my clothes are gratifyingly loose.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Today MK and I have been and ordered a new bed for J like the one above but white. We have also ordered a small desk to go under it so that when he starts school in August, he will have a place to do some homework. The next task is to redocrate his bedroom over the summer holiday.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spoke too soon

I had a terrible night with cramps last night. I was awake a lot and out of bed about 5 times hopping around the room. Maybe I need more minerals or maybe it is something else entirely.

Getting away from my self indulgence, here are some pictures of our tomato, jalapeños and strawberries

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Swiss Balls

Once my back got better last autumn, I started doing Pilates again but quickly found that it was aggravating the disc problem again so I stopped. The physiotherapist told me that I shouldn't be doing any exercises which were based on a sit-up or crunch as it would continue to cause problems. He recommended some Swiss Ball exercises and I have finally started doing them along with some other exercises specifically for cyclists which I have read about along the way.

So far so good, I can feel that there is an improvement in my balance whilst I am doing the exercises and I am hurting a bit less the days after doing them than I did last week. I hope that I can make some difference to my comfort whilst cycling and also help with general core strength and help accelerate my weight loss all at the same time.

Maybe I'm becoming a bit obsessed with this stuff...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cramp and minerals

More or less as soon as I went on a diet to lose some weight, I started getting pretty bad cramps in the night. It was actually a bit of a problem being woken up 2 or 3 times during the night and hopping around the room trying to get rid of the cramp. I had a suspicion that it was related to my having cut out dairy products so last week I got (MK to get me) some mineral supplement tablets. I was already taking a multi-vitamin with minerals, but now I have started on these as well (9 per day!) and it seems to have solved the problem. Gone are the constantly twitching calf muscles and I am now sleeping much better.

Sometimes it's nice to have a hunch about something and actually be right!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Last week I managed to lose my mini pump whilst I was out riding. I have no idea what happened to it, but I took it out with me when I went out on Tuesday evening and I haven't seen it since. It's pretty important to have a working pump with you when you're out riding, especially when you're on your own so I have just dome a bit of research and ordered one of these. Apparently it is good for 140 psi and given that I ride at 100psi, it should be fine. It has also had lots of good reviews. I particularly like that it has a tube to connect the pump to the valve like pumps when I was a kid, that reduces the risk of braking the valve and should stay put on the valve as it screws on. ( I got the black one)

Whilst I was looking at pumps, it occurred to me that we will not have space to take a full sized floor pump with us to France in our bike bags, but it is important to be able to get our tyres inflated correctly before starting so I decided to get one of these as a travel pump. It has a built in gauge and is rated to 160 psi. It is designed to be a floor pump you can take on a ride with you. It seems a bit bit for that to me, but it should be ideal to take in the car or on planes when I have my bike with me.

Hedging my bets

I seem to have run out of enthusiasm for painting the living room ceiling in the last week so it remains half finished. However, I have managed to get the hedge cut this weekend and to mow the lawn so the garden looks quite neat and there are lots of things growing out there as well. We are getting a bumper crop of strawberries and there are jalapeños growing on my chilli plant.

I spent nearly 4 hours cycling with BHP on Saturday, he is in really good shape in time for the Marmotte whilst I was struggling a bit after 2 hard interval sessions last week and a new regime of core and leg strength exercises. I hope they help in the long run because they are killing me at the moment. We went to a house warming party in CPH on Saturday evening without the kids and had a good time with grown up company and to some extent, seeing how the other half lives (a law firm partner and IT director with no kids, houses in Thailand, London and now CPH). Sunday was football and a family swimming trip before a barbecue in the evening.

MK and the boys went to the beach yesterday as it was a public holiday here (the last until Christmas) whilst I worked in the garden.

The plan for the rest of the week is more training and painting the ceiling again on Wednesday before finalising it with stain resistant paint next weekend. Then I can get on with moving the TV to make way for a fireplace.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dreadful meals

Since being on this diet, I must admit that I have lost a lot of interest in eating. I am glad that I am less interested in food because it means that I am not obsessing about food or being tempted to cheat at all.

I think it all stems from the fact that I I no longer eat food that is enjoyable 6 days each week. It's the same eggs for breakfast, salad stuff for lunch (right now I am eating a can of tune with some chick peas and 4 smallish tomatoes for lunch - blurgh) and then some cobbled together version of a main course in the evenings, minus the starchy carb. bits (bread, rice, pasta, tortilla, potatoes etc). Of course, there is the one day a week when I can eat whatever I want, but oddly enough the only thing I really look forward to is the cereal I am allowed to have for breakfast and then I just end up feeling a bit crap the rest of the day as a result of eating sugary stuff that I am no longer used to.

I think this diet is easily sustainable in the long term and I don't plan to change it at all until I have reached 90kg and then I only intend to relax it a bit. The real sacrifice is that the enjoyment of eating seems to have been more or less totally taken from me. Maybe it's for the best after all.

Todays weight is 96kg meaning 8kg lost and 6kg to go.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


DK has been increasingly intent on wearing his pants rather than a nappy over the last few weeks. We have had a few unsuccessful attempts at leaving the nappy off, but yesterday he decided he wanted to go to nursey without a nappy. Apparently there was one accident in the morning but he managed the rest of the day without incident and carried on when he got home.

It was very warm yesterday so he and J were in the paddling pool in the garden in their birthday suits. It appears that DK got a bit confused about being wet already and having no clothes on so he did pee on the kitchen floor whilst we were getting supper ready, but we are hoping that he will get the hang of using the toiled pretty quickly or at least more quickly than the 2½ years that it took J to be consistently dry...

Monday, June 06, 2011

Loooong weekend

Last Thursday was a public holiday in Denmark and I had Friday off as well as the day care was closed and my company doesn't work that day anyway.

On Thursday we went out for lunch and then we met with DK's English foot specialist in Copenhagen as she was over for a conference. DKs feet are fine and we don't need to do anything other than get ready for another check up in Manchester in 6 months or so.

The boys and I spent Friday going to the supermarket, making ice cream, sewing seeds and preparing food for our guests who were coming to dinner on Friday night. We marinaded Pork in honey, mustard and soy sauce and lamb in port with, thyme ginger and garlic. We also made a rhubarb fool with rhubarb from the garden which was delicious (it was my day off the diet!)

Saturday I decided to pain the living room ceiling white. It took the whole day to do it and I will have to do it again at least once. We had more friends over for a barbecue in the evening as we were all invited to a big party in town. Everyone had shipped their kids off somewhere (ours were with K&L) and we had a nice relaxed evening in the garden before heading off to the party at about 9:30. Unfortunately I began to feel ill whilst we were there and we came home at 10:30 and I was shivering and feeling sick all night. I spent some time throwing up on Sunday morning and then the rest of the day lying on the sofa feeling dreadful.

Today I am feeling better, but still not 100% so I am working from home and wondering when I will get around to finishing the ceiling.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Following on from the flowers yesterday I had planned to post some pictures of my chilli pepper plants. I have a jalapeño and a scotch bonnet plant growing very well on the windowsill and I am confident of getting some chillies now that there are flowers on them.

Pictures later

In the meantime, I can complain about the parking ticket we got in the hospital car park yesterday. DK got a clean bill of health, but as the carpark was completely full with no alternatives, we parked on some grass. We've abused the parking rules there many many many times before without punishment, but yesterday was not to be som we now have yet another parking fine to pay. An easy way to get rid of 510kr (£55 or about $100