Black Friday, cycling and confusing astronauts with aliens

We havent been tempted to spend today during Black Friday. It is fascinating to see how human beings react to an early sale. People stampeded by crowds, a woman injured as she refuses to relinquish her clutch on a big TV. It is a day of capitalism on steroids.

I wonder whether it is really savings people go crazy for, or the hype.

What would happen if say, for one day, prices went up and the hype was that the prices were going up on high-end products that were about to sell-out. It would be an interesting social experiment.

This week I have completed my first job as a provisional cycling instructor. I say provisional because I need someone to come out and assess my ‘delivery of the curriculum’ before I am qualified. As I have mentioned in past posts, I have a soft spot for the instructor who is to observe our teaching, which is very distracting and unhelpful. He wonders why people darent look at him while being assessed, I wonder if he knows the real reason.

I loved every minute of it and the enjoyment almost outweighed the monkey nuts for wages. I was disappointed with one of the instructor’s views on a boy with autism who had not managed to progress to level two on the roads. She had basically written him off for life, which was sad because all week while we were out on the roads with the other kids, he was progressing and getting better.

Now my boy has turned three, if anyone talks to him or asks him a question he replies with ‘I’m three’. There are so many things he is doing and saying that I want to record in his baby book. At the moment he is learning his lines for Joseph in the nativity and how to say them loud so everyone can here.

He also thinks astronauts are aliens.


This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for re

Crush course in cycling

Have you seen the movie ‘What Women Want’?

Today was like a scene from that movie if my mind’s burblings were anything to go by. I have been on a four day course learning how to teach cycling safety known as ‘Bikeability’. It is very serious learning a syllabus that has been devised based on accident statistics and what evasive action cyclists need to take to stay safe on Britain’s roads. It has been a very enjoyable course, where I have learnt a lot and made new friends. But there has been a rather significant factor that has made learning difficult….

The cycling instructor is HOT! It isnt often you encounter someone that within 10 seconds sends your jaw to the floor in awe at their gorgeousness. It did happen when I met my husband but I have been looking at him for the past 20 years so its a bit samey.

So, in our classroom discussion this afternoon, when we had been learning all day and my mind started to wander, this is what was going on in my head while he was talking……

Ok, turn to page 68 setting up meeting with school what should instructor have with them on first visit……umm……he must work-out those arms are quite toned at the top…….stop it!  ……….right think, a mobile phone…..ooh he just ssshhed me, I havent seen him do that before….was it quite a playful ssh? Ooh, he has gone round the room and got everyone’s comments now he is back to me….hes nudging the phone towards me and now wants me to say it……no I will be a tease and say ‘i dont know’ ….he just lurched forward and laughed …. is he flirting? No of course he isnt and stop trying to attract his attention, you have two children and a husband for Christ’s sake what’s a matter with you. I wonder if its the no sugar diet taking effect, maybe I should give in and have a bit of chocolate. I bet his girlfriend is stick thin……..and blonde………with a small butt. Yes he mentioned his girlfroend this morning so hes not gay….my gaydar is a bit rusty and I thought his ear piercings were a bit George Michael. Oh snap out of it women, hes taken, you are old and taken move on, right when to use cycle lanes, lorry blind-spots. Oh whats that buMp under his t-shirt? aaah its a clavicle fracture….his is wOrse than mine….I bet he dd it doing something really cool like a bmx stunt or snow-boarding or bike trialling. Should I ask him? God no he might wonder why I am looking at his t-shirt and collarbone. Hes looking at me while he is talking , right try to look serious and completely uninterested in what life is like under his t-shirt…….

It is exhausting having a schoolgirl crush. On the feedback form I feel like requesting the instructor wears a mask for better concentration levels.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Oh the joy of being ‘Mum’

I am going to try not to sound bitter in this next paragraph….

My cycle test to be a bikeability instructor for primary and secondary schools went well and they want me to do the full course. Downside being that, as a Mum of a 2 year old, childcare costs will mean my earnings are minimal. However this will improve as he gets closer to school age. Hubby doesnt understand this. Thinks I should stay at home until I am in a position to earn ‘decent money’. But when will that be…. when they turn 18? The fact is that jobs that fit around school time dont tend to be big earners. But when I have proposed to hubby that I take on the full-time breadwinner role and that he stays at home, he back-pedals faster than Chris Hoy in reverse. Why is it women who have to organise and deduct childcare from their salary thus limiting what they can actually do as a job?

So I guess my issue is not with parenthood but society’s historic approach to womanhood.

On a separate note, Oxfam emailed me about the appalling situation in South Sudan, which seems to be un-reported in the media. The country is nearing a famine and thousands of families are in refugee camps living in appalling conditions…… all because of war. If you can help please visit this site.

This blog is for Unicef. As i missed last night’s blog, £1 in the pot to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

PS I did feel a bit of an idiot in my over-sized hi-vis gear and my panic buy helmet from Halfords, particularly when positioned next to  lycra clad and cycle shoe heeled streamlined instructor.

PPS, if you are in need of a laugh,check out the Sam Mendes film ‘Away We Go’.






Testing times

Tomorrow I will have to take a break from blogging in anticipation of preparing for a bike test. This time a bicycle with a view to getting a job as a bicycle instructor. I like cycling but not to the extent that I wear lycra, I have even had to buy a helmet in anticipation of the test. I will be expected to negotiate a busy roundabout without causing a crash and demonstrate how I would teach a 10 year old to negotiate the roundabout.

My bike is loaded with a basket and baby seat , yet the google profile image of my examiner is of a racing cyclist in style of Chris Hoy (gulp).

Exam nerves have a negative effect on me. During my motorbike test, I sailed through the gymkhana test through cones. However, on the road test I got obsessed about coming out of the parking bay at the test centre at a certain angle and tipped the bike over before I had time to negotiate the road. The examiner let me carry on once I had righted the bike and by the time we returned 40mins later, he said he would have passed me had I not tipped the bike at the beginning.

So I do not do myself any favours (needless to say I passed 2nd time).

Fingers crossed! I will report back on Thursday.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.


Four on holiday

The wind blew us from boat to motorhome,

A surprising adventure was in store,

We found some sites that were spectacular and free

Others we had to pay alot for

The sea summoned us, her charms irresistible

A boat-trip or two fulfilled us more

Sky and space and freedom worth sacrificing

The pennies and pounds we had to withdraw,

Bikes and bells absorbed sites under pedal

Cream teas, ice-creams we kept asking for

Then family joined us for a day or two

In a convoy of campers we began to explore

Kayaks and wet-suits, sandwiches and beach towels

Beautiful views and scenes that dropped jaws to floor

A dotty dog accompanied the travelling circus

Her idea of adventures sometimes against the law

Reluctant goodbyes preceded further journeys

The jurassic coast and a windy ramble to Durdle-Door

All modes of travel we sampled, buses, trains,

And anything with sliding doors

At times the children were taxing

Sometimes we fought like a band on tour

We braved the beautiful beaches

Despite  goose-bumps and chattering jaws

We convinced ourselves it was still Summer

Regardless of all the coats and layers we wore

The adventure ended in the forest

Where we decided to take a tour

Of the ponies, pines and territory

That is protected by ancient law

We fed the children first to save money

And kept fuel costs low door-to-door

But the budget still ran over

Soon we were picking pennies off the floor

But time together is well spent

Gazing at our lives now so changed from before

Holidays as a couple were relaxing

But they are an adventure now we are four.


This blog is for Unicef. Nine days away from blogging = £9 to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.





Beware of cyclists

I have just taken delivery of a mechanism that will hopefully prevent me and baby boy getting squished the next time we are cycling on the road.

I am pinning my hopes on a bit of plastic with a lollipop reflective end in an effort to make motorists go around me when overtaking. Every time I cycle on the road with baby boy sat in the rear seat, at least one motorist drives past us so close that only a hair would separate us.

I have a ‘please pass wide and slow’ vest on the back of my bike but this doesnt make a blind bit of difference (excuse the pun). I have also experienced oncoming cars overtaking into my side of the road because they cant wait another five seconds, forcing me to stop pedalling so they can make it through the gap.

This is just the country roads. Given the general lack of respect that motorists give cyclists on Britain’s roads, I would class all cyclists on main roads as potential organ donors. There is very little room for error between a bike and a car, when a mistake happens it is often fatal – so why do so many motorists show so little care?

Aside from the tragedy for the cyclist’s family, what would life be like if you had killed someone because you couldn’t wait five seconds or you couldnt be bothered to move your steering wheel a fraction more?

If that still doesnt make you think, then how about the paramedic who has to piece together a body that has been annihilated after a bike accident involving a lorry? I witnessed the aftermath of such an accident – the paramedics resuscitating a bloodied torso and a lorry driver throwing up on the side of the street. Several lives changed forever in less than 5 minutes.

I am blogging for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.