Leaks, Springboks & Science – Week 45 : 2019

November 4, 2019

Whilst my first wife was watching Strictly Come Dancing on the TV she glanced up at the living room ceiling, as you do. She saw a large wet patch. Consequently I was despatched to the room above it, a bathroom. There was no sign of any leak. A couple of days later a plumber appeared to ferret about in obvious areas to find this fissure. A lack of success gave rise to stroking of his chin and a considerable intake of air as it whistled between his front teeth: the floor had to come up or we had to access the pipes by going up through the ceiling below. 

Deep joy.

A brief conference decided that pulling up all the ceramic tiles and then putting them down constituted a world of pain. Hacking into the ceiling was necessary. The good news was that the leak was found but only after the fourth hole had been carved into the ceiling. The plumber assured me that the repair will be invisible. My sister has helpfully volunteered that it will never be the same again. In this instance I fear she may be right.

Waking up on the morning of the Rugby Union World Cup Final had me feeling the kind of excitement a small child has on Christmas morning. I can’t pretend I’m a big fan of Rugby Union, however, the tournament has been excellent. Its had lots of great rugby, been enthusiastically attended, despite a typhoon, and has run nearly seamlessly. As for the Final then we all know that after 20 minutes into the game the South Africans seemed to have it in the bag. It took them until the second half to build an unassailable lead. The proverbial writing was on the wall a lot earlier. Oh well…

As I was cycling toward Hull, to catch a boat on my York to Vienna trip during the summer, I was joined on a very steep hill outside North Newbald. My companion was a cyclist on an expensive lightweight road bike dressed for an elite athlete photo shoot. Putting to one side that he nearly made me miss the ferry we got chatting. He implanted an idea to properly investigate sports nutrition when I got back. 

So I did the usual Google search and eventually found a person who had some relevant experience. There aren’t many about. It turns out that Louise Sutton is a lecturer and practitioner at Leeds Becket University. Kindly she’s found a Masters student, Cameron Blake, who is taking me and my Australian ride from Melbourne to Cairns as a sports nutrition project. He’s a serious cyclist and so understands the trip and the ‘language’ we all use. We met and it’s all science, data and Apps. Tim Mandle did articulate my hopes when he wandered if I was anticipating the ‘legitimising’ of beer and chips. Anyway, a series of meetings have been set up and to start with its all about recording my usual daily intake of food and liquids. (This requirement might lead to me giving the biscuit barrel a swerve for a week!)

You’ll find some new music posts elsewhere. Not reported separately is a trip into Leeds to see The Long Ryders. As opposed to assiduous attention and my usual scribing I decided that beer and jigging about was a superior use of my time. These vintage US rockers have reformed after a long sojourn. It was a lively night with an animated audience loving every moment.

York Minster put its best foot forward and opened up the vast church for a light show – ‘Northern Lights’. Images were beamed onto the Rose Window and and an audio story told. The size of the walls and ceiling provides a dramatic canvas on which to beam moving pictures. The way the colours or images wound their way around the intricacies of the stone work was delightful. A full nave saw lots of people peering upwards after having paid £6 a pop. The majority of the money goes toward the upkeep of the building – a prodigious annual cost.

Lastly, Anna has now done two 40 mile bike rides with a few hundred metres of climbing. This is all in preparation for her 300 miles over 10 days in South Africa later in the month. Doing this in winter can mean getting cold and wet – not least if you’re out there for over 3 hours. Never complaining and motivated by a coffee stop and endless mintoes. Chapeau!


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