This is how I will be spending my insomnia time during the month of July. Vive Le Tour de France 2015!

image

I never thought I would be posting this before my little girl Kiki had begun to walk, but here is my Friday Fone Foto. Kiki on her bike (quad bike), and she is loving it! Definitely Daddy’s girl.

FFF_Kiki_Bike_DSC_0037

I definitely can’t take the credit for this shot, but it definitely brought a smile to my face when my wife sent me the photo.

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 4-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

I never realised that becoming a parent would involve me having to give up large amounts of my part of the household food to the littlest mouths in the house. The Pok is always coming up to me with “big eyes” whenever I sit down to eat, with the phrase – “Daddy, I’m Hungry.” That is code for “Daddy, give me some of what you’re eating.”

So when my wife announced last weekend that she was cooking pancakes for breakfast, my sleep-in was interrupted by the need to protect my share of the yummy food. In the past he has stolen pancakes made for me before I could get to the breakfast table.

The Pok raced off downstairs after his mother as I yelled out to him, “[Pok], you are not having more pancakes than me this time!”

The reply – “But Dad, I am still growing and you are not.”

Such is my lot in life.

And I had to document the same “treachery” displayed at Easter this year on our fridge with regard to chocolate Easter buns – guess which one I am?

DSC_0002

cyardin:

Another interesting take on Strava. For me it is not about chasing the KOM, but being able to chase my best performance and get a kick of enthusiasm to get out and ride by seeing my mates. But what this rider experienced is beyond cool. He might as well have hopped on a motor bike.

Originally posted on A Female Fitness Fixation:

Cycling for me is a leisure pursuit and a way to keep fit. It gives you the freedom to go somewhere. It’s about going on an awesome journey.

It’s part of my weekly exercise when our British weather permits and I really enjoy it. It’s also some reflective time for me to find a little corner of peace in my busy life.

In this spirit, today I went riding. Just a short one. The birds were tweeting, the hills were looking majestic in the distance. I was contemplating life, mulling over some work issues and, as always, thinking about what I would have for lunch. I was pushing relatively hard when my tranquility was disturbed by a screech down my ear of, ‘moooooooove….STRAAAAAAAAVA!’

I was already cycling next to the pavement, I had nowhere to go. My bike wobbled as a fully logoed and lycra’d rider came whooshing past me…

View original 694 more words

Lest We Forget – for all soldiers, their families and friends, both living and passed.

ANZAC_Day_2015_0118_20150424183419907

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 4-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

Our nightly ritual is to wash, brush, and read before we go to sleep. His current collection of books is not challenging his vocabulary or comprehension in any way – time for the next level. In the meantime I am trying to get him excited about some of the stupendous advancements in science, engineering, and technology.

What better way to do that than to show him a YouTube video from SpaceX. For those of you that don’t know, SpaceX is the company that Elon Musk (of PayPal fame) started after he made a windfall in the sale of his internet start up. They are doing amazing things by being a private company who are preparing to launch manned vehicles into space to not only dock with the International Space Station, but eventually to travel to Mars. My kids are about to grow up during the next space race, and I want them to share in these advances. So here is the video that we watched, a simulation of their second generation space craft, the Dragon V2.

I paused the video several times.

Father of Pok: “See those panels, they help get energy from the sun to make electricity” (the Dragon V2 solar panels)

Pok (sleepily): “That’s cool! Where is it going to?”

Next pause.

Father of Pok: “That is where it is going – the International Space Station. And it is flying above us right now.”

Pok (now intrigued): “Up in space?”

Father of Pok: “Yep, and it is going very fast circling us.”

Pok looking at all the modular components of space station.

Pok (puzzled): “Where do people live in the station?”

Father of Pok: “All those cylinders are the rooms in their space house.”

Pok laughed: “That’s funny Daddy, people living in space!”

We continued watching the video of the docking, separation, and then powered landing (uber-cool).

Then when it was all finished, and a pregnant pause, the Pok asked the most pressing question on his mind.

Pok: “How does the parcel man deliver them parcels?”

Elon Musk, you have your next employee living with me :-)

Pok_Kiki-0103

Last night in Sydney there was a chill that descended overnight. It can’t be coincidence that India lost in the Cricket World Cup semi-final last night to Australia. The thousands of fiery swami army fans left the SCG quite a bit cooler. Bring on Sunday.
image
BTW – this wasn’t from last night, but from the pool match between South Africa and West Indies where de Villiers went on a rampage.

With Summer gone and the long slow approach to Winter now set in, I love getting out on the bike. It is dark early in the morning, and the air is fresh and crisp. Call me a sadist, but I love it even more when it is wet. So when my riding buddy AC looked at the weather report for Sunday, wet and windy, my response was simple – “Let’s Roll!”

So as the spray was flying up from my wheels I got to thinking “why do I love riding in the wet so much?” Here are my 5 top reasons to roll in the wet.

1. It brings out your inner Belgian

Admit it – when you are watching the Belgian Spring Classics, and it is wet and muddy, don’t tell me that you are not a tiny bit jealous of how much fun those guys are having? And the crazy Belgian cycling fans enjoy watching the races with a beer in one hand and fried potatoes in the other. Extra kudos if your wet ride route will include some pavé. Extra extra kudos if you can ride like Boonen.

wip0407_102. It hones your riding skills

Wet road, the detritus of trees all about, puddles, potholes, and your rear wheel sliding out… all makes for a better rider. It is a pretty intense riding experience too because you are riding in a heightened sense of alert.

gty-4519078943. Keeps your core body temperature down

So long as you have a good gilet or waterproof shell, your body will remain cool. Except for that squelching sensation between your socks and boots – LOL. Compared to riding in the stinking hot Australian Summer and draining my bidons every 2 hours, I know what I prefer.

WRJ02-Loc-AW14-01BTW – look how happy she is to be riding :-)

4. The routes are empty

All the fair weather cyclists are nowhere to be seen. Mostly they are hiding under their [pick all that are applicable] doonahs, duvets, quilts, blankets. The fair weather car drivers are noticeably absent too.

nature_trees_forest_wet_roadsHeaven huh?

5. There is no excuse not to clean your bike afterwards

Every wet ride must be followed by some TLC for your steed. This is quality bonding time that you should cherish.

How-to-Wash-Your-Bicycle

When all is said and done, at the end of a wet ride you feel a massive sense of achievement and joy, no matter how slowly you rolled to stay upright. You feel Iike you are ALIVE! Just ask Heinrich Haussler…

WATSON_00002082-045-659x440

So next time rain is forecast for your ride, rug up, hi-viz up, and ride :-)

For the record, my wet Sunday ride was 50km of damp goodness.

My politics aside, you have to admit that someone has put a lot of effort and money to disparage our Prime Minister. And it very much reflects the dismal state of affairs in our houses of parliament.

FFF_Politics-0034

My recent Christmas holiday included Paris as our real travel destination. Paris is a city that I am quite familiar with having lived and worked there some years ago. It is a big, bustling, but also coy city. You might question the description, coy, but the majority of Parisiens keep to themselves and lead their lives in the midst of the Napoleonic grandeur doing their own thing.

So you can imagine my shock when we arrived only a few days in the wake of the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo. When the incidents occurred, we were over at Disneyland Paris and you could see an immediate and overt increase in Police and security presence. So when we got to the city centre for our last night before returning home, there was an uneasy feeling pervading the fabric of the city. Like I said, most Parisiens do their own thing and lead their own lives most of the time. Quite often neighbours have only one thing in common, that they are neighbours. But Charlie Hebdo was on everyone’s lips, and when red beret soldiers in flak jackets are walking around flaunting their automatic rifles around the prime tourist destinations something was up.

But I was not going to let that stop me or my family from touring the beautiful city of light. We stayed at the Pullman, Eiffel Tower and I wanted to walk around the locale of my old office. The tower itself was only a block away, right on our doorstep. Capturing it never gets tired.

Paris_20150110_0004

The Seine itself was quiet, but that was not surprising given it was the middle of Winter. As always there were several canal boats unassumingly moored on its banks.

Paris_20150110_0012

I was shocked to find the big ‘Je Suis Charlie’ banner draped on the Palais de Tokyo. Normally these pillars hold the banners for the latest exhibition of modern art.

Paris_20150110_0017

At Place d’Iena, the location of my old office, both the French and European Union flags flew at half mast in solidarity.

Paris_20150110_0021

I was surprised to see electric car charging booths on quite a few streets. I am a keen fan of Elon Musk’s Tesla, but these little electric buggies were new to me as were their berths. Maybe Australian politicians could learn a thing or two from where France is going with clean and sustainable transport. (I still want the Tesla – Model S P85D please…)

Paris_20150110_0019

Did I mention there were Police everywhere? If you look to the end of the platform you can see several gendarmes – they were everywhere.

Paris_20150110_0040

When we emerged out of the metro at the L’Arc de Triomphe, the first sight we were greeted with was… three burly gendarmes making their presence felt on the Champs-Élysées.

Paris_20150110_0043

The L’Arc de Triomphe itself was bearing the projection of solidarity for the whole city.

Paris_20150110_0046

Paris remains a city in love with movies since the time when Lumiere gifted the world with his new performance medium. There are more cinemas in Paris than there are pubs in Dublin.

Paris_20150110_0045

We were making our way to a restaurant that I dined at regularly when I was working there. Though it has changed hands and has a new proprietor Oscar remains a great restaurant which is well patroned by the locals. I think most tourists in Paris are hoodwinked by the overpriced eating establishments when all it takes is to walk off the main streets to find fantastic food and wine at half the price without the BS. The team at Oscar made us feel welcome even when we were dragging two children and a wet pram into their restaurant – so I (and many others on tripadvisor) definitely recommend this place to dine.

Even with all the unease and tension, the city remains the city of light. And when my boy saw the Eiffel Tower light up and glitter for the first time, for a brief few moments the tension was pushed away.

Paris_20150110_0077

Hopefully the next time I visit it will be under a different set of circumstances.

Addendum: I wrote this post last night and overnight tragedy befell Copenhagen too. Two worlds are colliding right now; one secular, modern, and liberal (but not necessarily without religion or morals) against the other ultra-doctrinal, intolerant, and archaic. Neil Degrasse Tyson tells us that colliding worlds are not a good thing at all.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 447 other followers

%d bloggers like this: