I seem only to write cycling blog posts when I’ve done something different (for me) or done nothing at all. The last few months however have been remarkably incident free. I’ve not been anywhere exotic – like Ramsbottom or that Yorkshire, had a strop and given up for a month or two, bought anything shiny or fallen off. Life on the bike has been steady with a regular Saturday morning MTB jaunt with the missus and a week day evening ride with the lads.
Life off the bike however has been a bit fraught.
1) I lost my job.
We got called into a meeting on February 17th after several weeks of speculation about the future of Voith in Manchester and were told by a 7ft tall Austrian robot that production was moving to China, thank you and goodbye. 56 of us lost our jobs. Cheers.
I did the headless chicken thing for a couple of days – become a white van man/mini cab driver/teacher/plasterer… then removed my head from my arse and set about the business of finding something new. I actually quite liked the idea of being a Physics teacher until I saw how much the pay was.
Roll on three months, 50+ applications and a couple of interviews and I had two job offers. One was from a set of cheeky bastards who offered me £5k less than the job was advertised for and the other from somebody serious. I now work for somebody serious – Edwards Vacuum. I’ve had to take a bit of a dip in wages but the job is good and I haven’t lost my house or had to buy a white van/taxi/plasterer’s radio.
2) I got a haematoma
After the stress of losing my job and getting another the whole family needed a break. I’m the first to admit that I haven’t been the easiest person to get on with recently, so two weeks in Cornwall with a chunk of redundancy money and no employment worries seemed ideal. We had a cottage booked in the middle of Looe and even the weather was behaving itself.
The day after we got there I was sat reading the Sunday paper when my four year old came crashing through it and landed knees first on my lap. “That hurt” I thought to myself. By Monday I was getting some stabbing pains under my ribs and walking was causing a bit of discomfort. This carried on until Wednesday, when I collapsed in the petrol station at Morrison’s in Bodmin.
Three hours, one ambulance ride and five goolie proddings later (one administered a very hot surf-chick doctor – “Try to relax Mr McHugh”) and I was in the Surgical Receiving Unit at the RoyalCornwallHospital in Truro with a haematoma on my left nut. So there I was, propped up in bed with a busted nut and a pair of massive green pyjamas, 50 miles and £45 away from my car that was still in Bodmin and 70 miles and a further £35 away from my family who were by this time back in Looe.
There were three of us in our bay that night. Me, Terrence the Truck Driver (hernia) and Anthony the Very Old Man (very old). Sadly Anthony passed away in the middle of the night despite a flurry of frantic activity from the medical staff.
Anthony was replaced in the morning by Peter the Charming Old Bloke (fell backwards off a 5ft wall whilst gardening and landed on his ass). He even came equipped with some digital photos of his bruised ass that he showed me. Thanks Peter. He never adequately explained what he was doing on top of the wall or why he wanted to show everybody pictures of his ass. Hopefully he will take that secret with him to the grave, but not just yet.
I got out the day after with a bag of pain killers and instructions to take it easy. After that the rest of the holiday was brilliant.
3) I got another haematoma
Not as exciting as the first one. No hot doctors putting their hands down my pants, squashed knackers, ambulance rides or photos of an old man’s arse. I just slipped in the garden and landed shin first on the edge of a stone step. My lower leg swelled to the size and colour of a terracotta plant pot and I ended up in hospital again with an infection, more drugs and more instructions to take it easy.
On this trip to A&E I had the pleasure of sharing some time with an enormous stack of tattooed meat called Lewis Collins (!?) who was in because he and his mates thought that teasing a Pit Bull was a good idea. Judging by the bite marks in his legs it wasn’t.
After 5 days of not taking it easy we were on holiday again, this time to the Yorkshire coast. Filey, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay were all lovely. My memories of Scarborough though will be forever tainted by the huge amount of litter and stench of donkey piss on the beach. No wonder one of the Bronte Sisters died there. She probably caught something whilst making sand castles.
…and finally, on a cycling note, my kids have made huge progress. Emily has “got” the Islabike Rothan and Ollie is riding his Ridgeback MX14 without stabilisers and any apparent sense of direction. The Islabike has been brilliant. The weather has restricted Ollie’s cycling time this summer but I estimate that we had him up and running on “pedally bike” with less than an hour spent with the training wheels fitted. I’m a very proud dad.
Right then, time to charge the lights and have another uneventful ride.