Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Aunty, an Uncle and a food escape.

The second time I met my wife's parents was also the first time I met her auntie and uncle (who were on a rare trip to Blighty having escaped to South Africa many years earlier).

The wife and I were living on a £10 a week food budget at the time, a budget we shared with the other three people we shared a house with.

In a big show of 'welcome to the family' (me not her; they already knew my wife) the visiting relatives took us to a local hostelry and insisted on filling us till (what in retrospect) was probably far beyond the 'fill to here' line.

Spending an hour getting outside of more food than we'd seen in weeks and drinking with the foolish enthusiasm of youth inevitably led to an unscheduled food escape.  Being the classy lass she is my wife gently resolved her over-eating discreetly behind a dense hedge.  Being a dumb young punk I felt no such need to shield the public from my nihilistic personal horrors and dropped to my knees on the spot where my stomach's urge to spill overtook me, which unfortunately for some nearby children happened by the entrance to a bouncy castle.

I rolled onto my back looking like I'd be wrung dry of my essence - I was 10.5 stone and 6' 2" tall, in some ways this look was my default setting before I discovered my wife's astounding kitchen skills.

My mother in law did her best to hide my shame by ferrying handfuls of bark chippings from a nearby herbaceous border, looking the other way as she piled them onto my leavings, while parents of aforementioned small children comforted their audibly upset spawn.

Just as I was willing my body to devolve to a state where I could become one with the earth I saw my wife's aunt and uncle bimble over to give their assessment of the sorry situation.  The uncle looked me up and down as one might freshly dispatched road kill - with a look of gentle sympathy and an air of one who is not cheered by the grim inevitable outcome of natures struggle to survive in a world of motor cars, a world not of their making.

"Well Indroo..." (I apologise for the poor attempt at an Anglo-tinged South African accent),

"Well Indroo, it does a fella good to blow out once in a while.  Would you like a brandy?"

The aunt is a professional nurse of some standing and after giving me a quick visual assessment offered me her prescription for a swift recovery - a cigarette.

Their gently non-judgmental reaction to my culinary outburst warmed me to them, and I've had a soft spot for them ever since.  It now occurs to me that they might have decided not to make a scene in the hope that I was a temporary bump in the path until their lovely niece received a better offer.  18 years later I hope they've come to terms with the fact their niece has well and truly cast her lot in with mine.

All these years later I'm still glad I didn't actually manage to actually make it onto the bouncy castle...

The photo of me and the wife on this post was taken on that day, I don't recall if we're smiling at the prospect of cramming our pie holes or out of relief because we no longer felt like lard Zeppelins.

All these years later I'm still glad I didn't actually manage to actually make it onto the bouncy castle... 

The photo of me and the wife on this post was taken on that day, I don't recall if we're smiling at the prospect of cramming our pie holes or out of relief because we no longer felt like lard Zeppelins.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why you need to create Twitter lists.

Twitter isn't like most other social media in that it just sort of 'happens' whether you're looking at it or not. The stream of posts is constant, and the more people you follow the more posts there will be in your stream.

When you're new to Twitter the temptation is to follow everyone who looks interesting, and that's fine, it really is, but after a few days you'll notice that the dizzying number of tweets on your phone (because Twitter is best read on a smartphone) is a little bit much to take in. This is where Twitter lists come into play:

Why create a Twitter list?
Creating a list on Twitter allows you to place the folk you choose into one place, a group if you will, or if you really want to push the birdie analogy then a 'nest'. Big deal huh? Why would you want to do this?

Here's one of the ways I use Twitter lists.
My family and close friends Twitter list. I have placed my family members and a few close friends on a list, this means that when I view this list on my phone, ipad or whatever I only see the tweets made my the people on that list; tweets that would normally be lost in the onslaught of other Twitter twuffery*.   
Toms_Murder_Mystery_Birthday-November 20, 2010-_ASL6080-Edit
*twuffery might not be a real word

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

GIANT UK are looking for real riders!

So.. GIANT UK are looking for people to test their gear, each of these 'Real Riders' will receive a different bit of Giant kit each month in exchange for blogging a review and being featured on the Giant Facebook and Twitter streams.

I'm up for being one of the Real Riders - I cycle around 400 miles a month, mostly on the road (but I'm itching to get back off-road).  I currently ride a Road Bike, a Single Speed and own the remains of an MTB.  The majority of my miles are around the lovely Suffolk countryside with a friend or two, preferably in fine weather but invariably in foul weather.

I started chewing up the miles in earnest early in 2012, partly to loose weight and increase my fitness, but primarily because I like whizzing about on two wheels.

So why should GIANT UK choose me as a tester?  Well I've been writing and reviewing products (mostly music releases) for many years so I have some semi-literate experience and a proven track record of meeting writing deadlines.  I'm also quite verbose when I like something, which is a fancy pants way of saying if something gets me excited I'll tell the world about it.  Apart from anything else I really love writing about cycling on (my blog at gets around 4,500 page views a month) and the idea of reaching a wider audience is very appealing.

I'm 36 years old and have recently become a parent, so I am interested in exploring ways to include my daughter in my cycling adventures - the wee girl currently has a toddle bike and has 90% grasped the concept, and when she starts sitting on the saddle facing the correct way then there will be no stopping us!

Copenhagen_Denmark--_ASL8097_August 14, 2009
That's not me in this photo; I've never had a pony tail.
If you're interested in becoming a tester for GIANT UK wander over to their FaceBook page here -  or whip them a tweet at