Is this really what happens when you try to enjoy the moment?

Splat

Splat

I was trying to be mindful, forget about work and enjoy the moment strolling through Green Park – and SPLAT!!!!!

Is it really lucky to have a bird poo on you?

I just had to laugh, it was such a glorious day.

 

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Back with the half-mile high club – Ok it’s just getting bike fit again

Looking west from Woolstonbury

Looking west from Woolstonbury

After missing quite a few weeks I took Friday off to get my legs spinning again – just a 25 mile jaunt along the seafront – Brighton Pier to George V Avenue, Worthing and back again on my nobbly shod MTB – cycling over the new “footbridge” at Shoreham for the first time.

And then back into the more serious stuff on Saturday.

I stated at Pycombe and headed west up West Hill towards Saddlescombe.  What a start – at the bottom of the hill the path had been sanitized (all the ruts and bumps flattened) but soon you are in to a 20% climb. Perhaps not the most sensible start after a layoff.  After 100m upwards I was panting like a goon. And guess what – I bumped into fellow blogger “RollingDown...” on his recently renovated 199X Marin – having a chat allowed me to regain composure and reassess my direction.

I continued on the South Downs Way through Saddlescombe, up over Devils Dyke.  Off the top of the Downs I took a rather steep path coming out west of Fulking.  When I could glance at my gradient readout on my speedo is said -24% and that was when it was flattening out – I don’t think I will try cycling up it for a while.

I then rode up Truliegh Hill from around Truleigh Farm.  Back on the SDW it was back to West Hill before heading south and down to Waterhall – damn puddles again. After buzzing alongside the A23 to Pycombe I had a bit left in my legs so I went up to, and around, Woolstonbury Hill (only marred by about a 200m push up a dreadful up-hill path).

It was a bit windy and the sn only peeped out for  afew minutes but really nice to be pushing myself again – not quite 19 miles – but more importantly 800m (1/2 mile) of ascent.

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Saturday’s Ride

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Friday’s Ride

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The view up the Adur from the new “footbridge” at Shoreham-by-Sea

 

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A change of scenery – sans MTB – family gathering to walk a mountain

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A few words to explain a lack of words over the last few weeks – if that makes sense.

This is Snowdon – where we had a mass family gathering to remind ourselves we aren’t as young as we were – but we can still have a great time.  The weather held as well, brilliant!

 

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The vinyl revival? Another record shop bites the dust – goodbye Borderline

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My premonition was right – trecking through Brighton last Satuday Borderline had been replaced by a tea shop.

Arrgggghh.

A sad day – damn – they didn’t stay open long enough for RSD so I could be the only one queueing.

So Borderline, with the walls adorned by original ’60′s West Coast Posters and the fabulous Crumb plastic bags (I should have kept one for old times sake) joins the long list of  departed record shops – the ones that sping to mind tonight include Rounder Records, The Record Shop (Worthing), Soho Records, Ray’s Jazz Shop, Mole Jazz, Rhythm Records, The Kingston Records Shop, Beano’s and Vivante – god bless you boys!

Anyway if you know Mr and Mrs Borderline wish them well from me – and thanks for the records I have found there over the years – it is easy to forget, now that we have the internet (and easy-peasy internet shopping), how hard it was to find out about new releases and imports even 10 years ago.  Picks of the bunch must go to when they were upstairs at what is the Komedia and finding the Dead’s One From The Vault and Tim Buckley’s Dream Letter live at the RFH.

RIP 2014

 

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Another one off my unwritten bucket list – Janáček’s Sinfionetta – live

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After seeing the excellent Royal Concertgebouw some weeks ago performing Beethoven’s 9th I thought I would be a bit more organised and seek out some more of my favourite Classical pieces performed “live”.

First on the list was Janáček’s Sinfionetta.  

Lo and behold the Philharmonia Orchestra had it on last Thursday’s programme.  Seats were available and reasonably priced – and better still my brother said he would join me.  This was nice as it is one of the peices that we inhertied a love for from our Old Man and his record collection.

The power and majesty of the fanfare with a fantastic array of brass, woodwind …… is something to behold – no matter how good a record or hi-fi there is no way you get the same feeling as having the real thing layed out in front of you real time – a real goosebumps moment or two!

It maybe just me but I though the orchestra looked a bit down when the came on stage (I am no expert) but there didn’t seem to be the buzz of the RC or Budapest Festival Orchestra.  Maybe it is an english thing.  But the concert of Bohemian music was enlivened by Jakub Hrůša, the 33 year old Czech conductor, bringing his love of his native music. He really got the orchestra playing – no slacking allowed – and at the end I think the orchestra started to enjoy playing and I noticed the odd smile of satisfaction at the well deserved applause. 

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Record Store Day 2014 and…. – The Vinyl Revival Continues

As many vinyl hounds will know the 2014 Record Store Day is looming up fast.  This is the day when lots of special issues and reissues are released in limited quantities.  And to get your copy of the item(s) on the release list that you want, you have to join an insanely long queue outside an independant record shop well before the shop opens (or pay through the nose on e-bay).  One the two occasions I have joined a queue I have been lucky – the invading hoards into Brighton somehow just missed the record shop I chose - it had no queue before I started it.  Alas I fear this shop is closing soon.

Anyway the hightlights, for a bloke of my vintage, this year are few and not high priority but here they are nonetheless:

Another Grateful Dead live double – this time from ’79 – an early outing with Brent Myland (the start of my least fave Dead period)

A live Jake Bugg recording

A vinyl version of the Gram Parsons GP and Grevious Angel outtakes

A Sam Baker single and some Vanguard label issues

The first Garcia album – wonderful – as I have found it hard to find a good copy!

What has dropped of the list in the last few days is the one I was most looking forward to - the second installmant of 4 Neil Young studio albums re-issue programme from original tapes; Journey through the Past, On the Beach, Tonights the Night and Zuma.  I have been looking to find a resonable copy of both the middle two for ages.  What is annoying is I bought TNT when it came out but sold it on the belief I would pick up a US original.  Anyway the box has been put back months – so to make up for that here is a link to an article on MF’s web site.

Neil Young’s Upcoming Record Store Day 4 LP Box Set Produced From Master Tapes AAA | Analog Planet.

While missing from the list (in my dreams – with my “rock” hat on) are:

Bob Dylan – Live at the Isle of Wight Festival (vinyl)

White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan (split coloured vinyl)

The Beach Boys – Wild Honey (Stereo vinyl)

Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica (vinyl re-master) and Bat Chain Puller (vinyl)

Tim Buckley – Live at the Troubadour (vinyl)

And just before I sign off ……

I found this lp hiding on Amazon – The Small Faces “Greatest Hits” – cut in mono from original tapes with nothing nasty in the mastering chain! Just like Odgens Nut  Gone Flake lp last year.

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I saw it late one night and didn’t read the small print that it is A an B sides from the Immediate Years – so no All Or Nothing – but hell it has three of the best late ’60′s rock singles – period – Itchycoo Park, Lazy Sunday and Afterglow - play loud – enjoy – murky sound – what a voice – what drums – what bass – what organ………they just take me someplace else!

 

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It felt like summer today!

It is suprising how quickly sunshine makes you forget about what has gone before – the horrible wet & windy days earlier this year,  the snow his time last year…… anyway back to the now.

Today the sun cut through the mist and cloud by mid-morning, proving the weather forecast wrong again.  Keen to take advantage of the blue sky I quickly changed my plans for the day.  It was good that I had replaced my worn out chain rings and fixed my puncture (new innertube) during the week and my bike was just about ready to roll.  So ii was ready to head off to the Downs just after lunch – and wow it was wonderful.  The ground has dried out considerably since last week, reducing roling resistance and just making it a bit easier and more enjoyable.  In the sun it was nice and warm – warm enough to expose my knees and wear my baggy shorts.

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Young lambs and their mothers

I chose a route that would be taxing physically, but not too much so that I wouldn’t enjoy it.  At the end I manged just over 15 miles (24.5km) and climbed about 530m which is a good %age step up from last week – but still well short of where I want to be.

Starting at Jack & Jill in took the SDW to the Angry Tractor Driver field. Here I turned right, heading downhill towards Falmer.  At the next farm I took a right and returned back to the SDW near Blackcap. The path was much more agreeable than last week.  Bumble Bees were buzzing around, butterflies were sunbathing and young lambs were taking thier first steps. The puddles and super slippery mud was drying up but leaving some hard tretcherous fin ridges.

At Blackcap I turned and went back west for a while before dropping down to the top of Stanmer Park. From there I  gradually wound my way to my car at Jack & Jill.  The only damage today was another punture that kindly held on till the end.  Pesky thorns!

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Note: the gradient profile doesn’t show the full extent of somme of the steep bits.

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