Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sorry about the hiatus

Life is pretty crazy at the moment. Having been away for the weekend, I spent Monday evening looking after the kids whilst MK was at a school meeting before going to Crossfit at 20:00. Tuesday was another 3 hour commuting day along with at least 2 hours ironing in the evening and yesterday I was home alone again as MK was out running with her colleagues in Copenhagen, but I had managed a 06:00 Crossfit session in the morning.

The 3 hours per day commuting isn't helping things much either.

I'll endeavor to carry on blogging as much as I can, but at the moment it's hard to find the time.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Now that I am working on a project in the centre of Copenhagen again I have been presented with the usual challenge of finding the best method of getting from home to the customers office each day.

The first week was ok as it was still holiday season, but over the last few days the traffic has worsened every day so that I now spend about an hour and a half travelling way either by car or on the train. My conscience tells me the use the train and I enjoy the time on the train a little more than the driving time BUT it costs double to use the train and it is consistently 1,5 hours each way whereas the car is worst case 1,5 hours but is often faster at least in the morning. I guess I'll stick to the car at least for now.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pippi Langstrompe

We had a fab weekend at Astrid Lindgrensworld in Sweden. It's theist middle class theme park in the world. There are no rides, it is a series of plays and singing and dancing shows in the forest on sets that resemble the sets of 60's Swedish kids tv series.

The kids loved at and didn't care at all that they couldn't really understand what the actors were saying and they got to meet some of their imaginary heroes. Pippi, Emil and Ronje.

On top of that, the food was great, locally sourced local dishes - great bacon with potato pancakes and great big salad bars.

Here's our Pippi in front of Villa Vilakula

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I've been in Solna for the last two days. Solna is a suburb of Stockholm and is to a large extent like a new town with new offices and apartment buildings everywhere but also some nice old parks. Stockholm seems like a very middle class place even by Scandinavian standards which may or may not be a good thing, I'm not sure.

I was on an introductory training course for my new job which was pretty good. The downside was the travel time and the immediate backlog from my normal work that built up but that's just life.

Now I have a lot to do before we head off for the weekend.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Swimming Lessons

Saturday's sailing plans were dropped fairly early on as there was no wind and it was raining. I checked with someone who lives closer to the sailing club than I do and we agreed to meet up on Sunday morning instead.
I got there in good time so that I could get my new mast fitted and all the confusing little bits of string in place before we hit the water. The guy I was sailing with had very kindly decided to bring his tape measure and sailing experience with him to help me get the boat set up for the new mast and my weight. I hadn't really been through this process before so it was interesting to learn a bit about what should be adjusted in which direction under certain circumstances.

When we finally went out the sail there wasn't really very much wind and we had a few gentle legs up and down a short course to check that my boat speed and pointing ability was where it should be. Thankfully it seemed that everything was fine.
not me
Then the wind hit us pretty hard and there were fairly quickly reasonable waves and it was hard work to stay upright. Upwind was manageable but on my second downwind leg I capsized, the wind and the waves meant that I had to pull the boat back up and let it capsize again straight away before being able to right it and get back in. That was something of a struggle as the mast got stuck in the bottom again,. but I took my time and thankfully avoided breaking another mast. About 30 seconds later (and much to my colleagues amusement) I did the same thing again. This time I remembered that you have to hold onto the centerboard as the boat re capsizes and pop up on the right side to pull it up again.
and now more clearly not me!
By the end of that, I was pretty tired and headed for the harbour to wash the sand and grit out of the mast and put the whole thing back together yet again. I was pretty tired and glad to be back on dry land again after that, but it was a fun trip and flying back the harbour over the waves was an absolute blast.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The new lunch boxes

That's me on the left, J in the middle and DK on the right. The boys are christening theirs today, but mine will have to wait until Monday as I am at a customer today with a canteen that I can use for free.

I have been struggling with aching legs since the crossfit on Wednesday morning. I'll be back there again on Sunday and see how things progress in the meantime.

Mast and Sail

I'm going to get my new mast and sail this evening so that I can sail again on Saturday morning.

Fancy carbon moulding
Hopefully there won't be any problems driving around Copenhagen with 6,5 metres of carbon fiber on the roof rack but I'll have to be careful not to take out any cyclists at junctions and corners.

I fear the the mast has cost more than the total amount that B and I spent on sailing in our youth including buying boats, clothes and club membership.

Isn't there a saying about the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Early bird

I did manage to get myself to Crossfit at 06:00 this morning. After a warm up of air squats and skipping, we did a bit of yoga style stretching and then 20 max weight back squats (I used 50kg, but I should have had more on the bar really) then we did "Surfers on Acid" which is 3 rounds of run 400m and 21 burpees. It took me 11½ minutes which was OK for that time of day.
Then home, shower, breakfast and off to work for a loong day.
At least I only spend 1½ hours getting home tonight instead of the 2 hours it took yesterday.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bloomin' 'eck

I am already extremely busy with my new job and was drowning in emails yesterday despite only having been in the company for 6 work days!

I have been going to bed too late each evening and consequently not getting enough sleep to counteract the stresses and strains of the day. The result? I have been a bit of a grumpy git with a headache and not much fun to be around.

Tonight I'll hit the sac extra early as I have signed up for the 06:00 Crossfit class tomorrow morning. I don't know how that's going to work out, but I'll give it a try.

Something bit me on both ankles whilst we were cutting the hedge. At the time I thought it must have been a mosquito, but given the size of the marks and that they are hurting 2 days later to the extent that it is keeping me awake at night, I suspect that it must have been a scorpion or maybe a venomous snake of some sort!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hedges and Lunchboxes

I need to get better at taking before and after pictures for this blogging malarkey.

I did a pretty tough Crossfit session on Saturday morning before embarking on the biggest workout of the day that was cutting the hedge. MK and I worked hard all day (with a little help from our little helpers) and managed to get it done and the trailer returned to the garage by the deadline of 16:30. We were completely bushed by the end of it but managed to roast a chicken for dinner which is always a hit with the kids.

One of the absent neighbours mirabelle trees was hanging over our hedge so we chopped the branches back and collected a box of mirabelle plumbs that I made into Jam on Sunday afternoon. I'm looking forward to finding out if it's any good or not.

The other great event of the weekend was ordering new lunch boxes for the me and the kids - I now take lunch as there there is no canteen at my new job when I am not at customers. We get through a lot of cheap lunch boxes that get broken or won't close after going through the dishwasher a few times. We saw some very fancy looking ones in a shop in France whilst on holiday and after a bit of research, decided to buy some online. They are called MonBento and are made of silicone coated plastic with two airtight layers, a lid and fancy colours to chose from.

DK, J spent a very very long time deciding which colours they should have whilst MK and I agonised over the extortionate prices.

Here is my design. J went for a red and blue scheme whilst DK opted for red and white. Product reviews to follow.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

New toys

I just got my new computer which is a rather nice little HP model - small, lightweight, aluminium cover and...
Windows 8

My first thoughts are that it's going to take a while to get used to it.

I also have an iphone 5 that is to all intents and purposes the same as the 4S I had before but it is a little taller, lighter and doesn't seem to work with bluetooth which is somewhat irritating.

It looks like I am going to have plenty to do which is exciting.

I also seem to be on the verge of buying a new mast off someone in Denmark who used to be on the national team. He had this one as a spare and has only used it for 5 hours so I can get it for something around half price. I am just pressing him to give me a sail with it as well.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Danish Finn Championships

This last weekend was my first chance to take part in the Danish Finn Championships. The timing wasn't great because I started a new job on Thursday which was the first day of sailing so I already missed 2 races before I turned up on Friday morning. There were 1,5 metre high waves and the wind was pretty strong so it was not entirely without trepidation that I left the harbour into the swell with the other 39 boats that were taking part.

I survived the first race and came somewhere quite near the back - maybe 5th from last and was starting to feel less terrified of the waves, if not entirely comfortable and far from confident. The starting procedure was under way for the second race was about 2 minutes from starting when I capsized (I don't know why, but I think it was a wave that caught me off guard) right at the end of the line by the committee boat. Unfortunately the sail was sticking up in the air so when I up righted the boat, it flipped straight over into me getting me tangled up in the rig and banging my head. This sounds more exciting and dramatic than it really was, but the water was warm (I was already soaked anyway) so it was really more of an annoyance until I got back into the boat and noted everyone gesticulating wildly to me to look up.

The top 30cm or so had broken off my mast when it was stuck in the seabed. I tried to sail back to the harbour, but the boat kept turning back to the wind so in the end I had to have help tipping the boat over again to free the sail and then be towed back to the harbour.

I spent the afternoon out on the rescue boat enjoying the fantastic weather and watching the others have a series of good races.

Happily I borrowed a mast for Saturday and did better than I ever had before with the improved equipment coming somewhere near the middle of the field. However, just as the second race of the day started, the wind shifted through 180 degrees so the race had to be abandoned. We then waited about 1½ hours in the boats for the conditions to settle before we had a final race of the day where I was absolutely rubbish and came in dead flat last.

Now I need to find a replacement mast and oddly 2 new wheels for my trailer as those have been pinched as well.

Holiday Part 4

After a week in Provence we were getting into a rhythm with finding places to see, eat and what we could cook on two camping stoves. We'd figured out how to share a tent pitch with an ant colony (careful food segregation between dry stuff that they don't like and a newly purchased electric cool box) and when was the best time to go to the pool to avoid getting too much sun. J had recovered from a tummy big but MK had really had enough of the leaky Carrefoure nappies that seemed to be leaking every night.
We'd had our week in Carpentras so we headed back to the Alps having briefly considered going home. I'd researched a couple of camp sites near Chamonix so we headed for one of those and it turned out to be fantastic. We had another 4 nights there with some walks in the hills and forest by a big river, a couple of trips to the open air pool and some more milling around and relaxing.
Finally our time was up and we headed back north with a couple of lessons learned. Check out the camp sites before you leave and don't buy own brand nappies being chief amongst them.

Hiking new Chamonix
Mer de Glace camp site near Chamonix
Kids in the stocks in Beaux de Provence
Camp site #1 - Les Domes de Miage
Cafe in Carpentras with a good game to play