Sunday, 9 August 2020

Back to work


I completed my first week back at work. Moof IT have been very good, breaking me in gently. I had settled into a routine during lockdown, now I had to create a new one. The space at home is a little cramped, but no commute to the office is a positive change to my day. It's given me some extra time.

I didn't get out on my bike after work as much as planned. In truth my back and knees were hurting, and the new daily structure caused a dip in motivation.

I did finally go for a ride on Wednesday - a short one on the road bike - just over eigth miles. I did include a few hills, it did feel odd to be back home in thirty minutes. 
I left a short time after 5pm, it isn't a great time to ride though; the roads were very busy.

Didn't get out again until Friday, on the mountain bike this time. I rode the eight mile off road route. Leaving the house just after five and it didn't feel too hot, working hours had been almost unbearable. My little home office turned into a sweat box. 

It was a very pleasant outing, mostly away from the road I was surrounded by views like the one below.

The team at work have a virtual get together every morning. We chat about what's been happening with everyone, share news about Moof IT, and then a challenge or two is set. It is a very welcome addition to my day. It was my turn to head the meeting. I set serious and not so serious tasks. The not so serious one was to post the earliest picture everyone had of themselves.

This was mine.

The second task was to spend at least five minutes exercising at lunch time. Everyone was already taking regular breaks from their desks, I wanted everyone to think about how they filled the lunch hour.

I read somewhere if they keep it up for two weeks, it can become a habit. I decided to do push ups. I will continue and see how many I can do, I hope the others do too.

Exercise has helped me immensely, even before coronavirus. The last four months have allowed me to focus on myself, not something I do very often. I wanted to ride everyday to prove I could, and because it helped to steady me. I hadn't realised how tightly wound I was, I guess it builds slowly over a long time.

Saturday was a ride to Ide Hill, I needed to get some miles into the week.

The view was worth the effort.

On the way home on a very quiet lane two deer allowed me a brief interaction, before they disappeared.

On Sunday I rode to meet Matt at the churchyard, going back to old routines is also what I need. These rides were what I looked forward to all week before coronavirus. Now that we are allowed to meet people again, they return to being an important part of my week.

Unfortunately as I neared the churchyard a gear cable snapped, leaving me in the lowest ratio. That's not great, I only need it for steep offroad hills. I was able to adjust the mechanism to lock out the smallest sprocket.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Better ways to spend spare money

There is a limited edition, gold plated lens available if you are quick.

There doesn't appear to be any other changes to the offering, for $700 more.

It's made for the Leica camera range, so it's aimed at the correct buyer. They are already expensive, with little justification in my opinion. When you buy into this brand it does seem to be as a way to make a statement, there are other more capable cameras for far less. I see my Nikon as a tool to do a job, it's why I chose it. It's not the latest version, for me, it provides what I need. If my requirements change I will reconsider my choice.

I couldn't justify spending a large sum on aesthetics over function, even if I did have the money.

It's not just cameras of course, many items seem to be priced on the prestige a company has rather than the value.

A higher price can mean better quality, a cheaper alternative may need to be raplaced more often.

It's not hard to find incredible offerings. The main pic is of gold toilet paper. The producer says - “As you use the toilet paper 22 carat gold flakes will fall onto the floor and your behind taking you to another level of sophistication." - impressive I think you will agree!? You then have to pick up the soiled flakes. Or do you have a person for that?

Here are more foolish buys.

It's largely a free world, you can buy whatever you want, but I do think maybe you could be more of a philanthropist and help society rather than buy expensive trinkets.

Very expensive cars, boats, works of art, huge houses; you have to ask. What is the purchaser trying to say, and can't they say it in a better way?

Monday, 3 August 2020

Good to be back

I hope this will be one of the last posts to include reference to lockdown. I went back to work, albeit from home, and photo studios could open for shoots.

Here was that shoot. Four month later I returned to the same place; this time with Saskia and Janice. I have worked with them many times, always producing great results. The last time was way back in 2019.

The session was to catch up and work on some ideas. I wanted to produce a black and white set, Saskia and Janice had some outfit combo's to test.

Then with some attitude.


And now for some colour. This set was at the beginning of the session; Saskia nailing it from the start.

Then a bold print.

And finally a casual set.

It's brilliant what you can achieve in a short time with a good team.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Last high mileage week

I love my bike

I'm back at work tomorrow, so being able to ride 200 miles per week is in the past. I will ride a local off road loop after work, not great mileage but I'm hoping it will maintain my fitness.

I rode it last Sunday; it's about eight miles, taking around forty minutes to complete. The majority of it is bridleways and unpaved lanes. When the nights get longer I may need to invest in more powerful lights, the ones I have are great for showing my presence to others but may not illuminate a completely dark path.

On Monday I took it easy, riding the mountain bike to Leigh. My knees were hurting, so the lower gears allowed me to reduce the strain. I then had to pick up my new glasses from the opticians in the valley, a thirty minute walk in each direction. It includes Waller Lane, my hill climb venue.

Leigh History Box
Leigh has reused a telephone box to display local history.
Tuesday was the Kona to Leigh again. I ride the mountain bike in a different way than I do the road bike. I see more of the scenery, because I'm going slower and being more upright I can see a wider vista. I'm also less focused on the straight ahead. Even when I intend to take it easy, the road bike encourages me to push on. I do enjoy the speed, but it has been nice to slow down.

I was close to aborting the ride on Wednesday, I wasn't motivated to get out. I'm not sure why, I just felt really down. All it took was a look out of the window, beautiful weather couldn't be missed.

I took the mountain bike and set off with no route in mind. Twenty minutes and I remembered a bridleway I had ridden past many times, intending to explore.

I was very glad to venture along it. A few hundred yards and it opened onto many fields. Some with wheat, others were filled with wildflowers.

field of wildflowers

As I sat the only sound was the buzz and chirp of a myriad insects. After a while I made a move to head home; and a deer popped up from maybe thirty feet away. It paused long enough for me to take a picture and then bounded into the trees.

startled deer

One last look around and off I went.

panoramic field

Thursday was a busy one, I had the task of clearing the office I haven't worked in for many months. I'll be based at home from now on. I managed a short ride prior to this, and the same after dinner in the evening.

two tractors in a field

On the first ride, I passed some people hard at work.

last rays of the sun moon rising

Later in the evening I caught the last rays of sunshine and a pale moon.

Friday was taken up completing the move from my office to home, and setting up the space I'll use.

On Saturday there was a photography project, details on the next blog. The last studio shoot was just before lockdown.

And finally; Sunday I rode to Smallfields on the road bike.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Views from a bench

Leigh bus stop in the rain

I have an end date for my lockdown; the third of August. After that I may be back to just riding at weekends. Although working from home could give me the opportunity for a short ride in the time I use to commute.

Continuing from last week's theme - a change of pace - this post will show more views as I sit on various benches in Surrey. The one above is from Leigh; I used it to shelter from the rain last Sunday.

Monday ushered in a return to sunny weather, and a new destination; Charlwood.

charlwood green
Charlwood Green
My return journey was paused for a while when I saw these donkeys.


The handlebar mounted camera recorded their saunter over to me. I didn't have anything to feed them, although I have read it's not encouraged. I believe horses etc can be poisoned by some of the food most people think is okay.

Tuesday started cool, but by the time the food and drink I bought with me had been consumed at St Bartholomew's Church in Leigh the sun was making its presence felt.

St Bartholomew's Leigh

Long term readers will also be surprised to know; I cleaned both bikes when I got home.

clean bike

It was back to St Bartholomew's churchyard on Wednesday. It's a quiet area to sit and think.

I glanced around from my bench, there is a better than average shed. So I used it as a background for my picture.

St Bartholomew's churchyard shed

I also wondered if there was a story behind the sunken headstone.

sunken headstone

I could only muster a short ride on Thursday, and Friday had no time for cycling. I have had months where I have ridden every day, but as the end of this period approaches I find I have less time.

Saturday was a moist ride, (why do some people not like that word?) I went to the green at Charlwood, this time sheltering from the rain at the front of the cricket pavilion.

cricket pavilion charlwood