Sunday 29 May 2022

On the road again

Last Thursday I finally got confirmation that I could ride on the road. There were some nerves as I started off. And I wasn't sure how far I would go; any direction has hills I'd have to climb on the way back.

It had been a long time in the garage on the trainer; I'd been riding it since the 24th April and completed 413 miles. I wasn't sure how much I'd lost since February, and how much had been regained. It will probably be a few more months of hard work to get to where I was.

So what was my first ride and to where? With the club, alone or with Matt?


I went to Tatsfield village. There is only one hill of note in each direction along fairly quiet lanes. I took the mountain bike; it's very low gears and the big tyres gave an easy and compliant ride. And met Matt for coffee.

coffee in tatsfield
coffee in tatsfield

Sunday was a little longer ride; to Westerham. It felt great. I know I'm not yet as fit or as strong as I was. But I'm not as far off as I thought.  

Chatting to Matt, he asked if there had been a time when I thought about cancelling my ride to Cornwall. I replied, "no". I admit I was unsure during the first couple of days after the crash. The surgeon said there was a chance the blood supply may have been compromised, and a potential for nerve damage. Once I was moving around the ward with a walking frame, and the swelling started to reduce it never entered my mind that I wouldn't do the ride. Albeit with a reduced daily distance. 

Having completed these two rides I am even more confident it's within capabilities. With the bank holiday weekend coming up I'll be riding with my club. It'll be a chance to ride further, to test my endurance.

I went to the office in London on Friday; walking down to the station in the valley and then from Victoria to near Oxford Circus, and back. I awoke Saturday morning with an aching hip, or to be more precise two. It had been a long time since I'd walked so much. With errands to do this was not good news. Once I got moving though everything freed up a bit. The cycling makes a big difference, helping with flexibility.

I have also signed up for a local hill climb event. I've done it twice before;  it will be interesting what I can achieve this year. Link to my previous efforts.

Monday 2 May 2022

A link to my dad

FED 4 Agfa Isolette L and an older Ensign Selfix 820

Whilst rearranging storage to make room for my home office I opened a box that contained three film cameras. One is mine, the others belonged to my dad.

I have not used them in a very long time.

Film is hard to buy, few places stock it. Luckily I have a camera shop near me that had some, but not for dad's cameras. They are medium format and use 120mm film. I'd have to order it, processing would be another challenge. They are also far from straightforward to use, with shutter and aperture settings spread around the lens rather than on the camera body.

Film has been in decline for a long time. Many people will never have loaded film into a camera, instead they would have insert a memory card. Taking a picture and not seeing the results until the roll was developed would be also be a weird experience.

I have mentioned this before; my dad was an avid photographer when we were kids. He developed the film too. We have many draws full of prints. 

Using his cameras will kind of linked us both again.

When I bought the two rolls I asked if rather than being printed they could be supplied digitally. Yes was the answer; saved to a CD. Who has access to a computer with a CD drive nowadays? I asked about a USB drive, and they said if I bring one they will copy onto it. Surely a better way would be via download from web storage. It's the way I deliver pictures to people.

I wish now that I had been more involved with my dads photography when I was growing up. And that digital had come into my life earlier. 

As I took the pictures in this post it really hit me what a missed opportunity it was to not to have been part of his hobby.

I did use my film camera a lot, until my late teens. And then I rarely took a photograph; maybe the occasional holiday snap. Another regret.

I often think about my dad. Photography focuses me. This film project more so.

They are an Agfa Isolette L and an older Ensign Selfix 820. Both being completely manual, not even having a rangefinder. I do remember seeing a device that clipped to the top to measure distance for focusing. But I don't know where it is now. The newer one does at least have a light meter.

My camera is the FED 4, is much more modern. I say my camera; I don't remember if it was bought for me, or I borrowed it.

I'll just use the FED 4, searching online for their history the other two could well be seventy to eighty years old. Unfortunately the leather case of the Ensign partially came apart as I opened it, so it and the Agfa will be going back in cupboard.

I can't walk far at the moment, so the photowalk will have to wait. I want to revisit locations where I've previously taken pictures with the digital camera.

Watch this space.