Biking Mad

Last night I went back to upholstery for my next class, three and a half months later than expected.

I’d had concerns about how to get there and decided that cycling was the best solution as the tube is horrible in the summer anyway and I couldn’t justify a Covid moment.

And so off I went, six miles to Hoxton. It didn’t sound like a lot but forty minutes later, it certainly felt like it.

I worked on my chair for three hours and made some progress and then cycled home for another forty minutes. I believe I mentioned that my cycling fitness isn’t what it used to be!

It’s fair to say I was shattered by the time I got home at 10:30pm and am not looking forward to repeating it on Thursday in thirty degree heat.

Still, last chance before France and hopefully I’ll be able to pick things up again in September.

Big floral!

Wheel fitness

I cycled to work for seven years, every week day, come rain or shine but mostly rain. In the winter and in the dark. It wasn’t far but it did something. Twenty minutes each way, six miles a day.

Since I’ve been working at home, I haven’t been cycling and so today I went out for the first time and cycled for a hour.

It’s fair to say that my bike fitness is not what it was and I’ll certainly be feeling it tomorrow!

In two weeks time

In two weeks time, Agnes and I will attempt to cross the channel and enter the Eurozone. Schengen here we come (hopefully!)

We have booked our escape vehicle, funny how an inflatable dinghy crossing the Channel has plenty of seats going the other way!

It’s lucky Agnes likes water but she’s not much of a swimmer so hopefully we won’t have to make a swim for it.

Under the cover of darkness we’ll hide under trucks and hang on to the axles as we stowaway south.

We’re brushing up on our French, “Oui Monsieur, nous habitons pres de Nice. Je travaille a Londres mais je vol normalment chaque weekend à France à chez nous. Voici ma…”

And that’s where it all falls apart as we don’t have any proof of permanent residency in France, maybe because I’m not a resident and Agnes is a dog.

Fingers crossed we don’t get to that point as I don’t want to get sent back or stuck in quarantine in Calais.

Remember how easy it was when we used to fly!

Hiding in Hyde Park


Another glorious day in London after a wet and fairly cold week so we took the opportunity to walk to Hyde Park.

By mid morning helicopters were starting to circle overhead and sirens could be heard so it was time to head back to the middle class safety of Maida Vale before it all kicked off.

Apparently the right wing extremists are popping into town to meet the Black Lives Matter protestors and save a few statutes. ..

Time to head home.

The In-tray

For the past few months I’ve been working harder than I have in years. On one hand it’s been good to be so busy, on the other there were weeks when I felt like I was sinking.

New projects have been dumped in my virtual in-tray each week as my job has quadrupled from when I first started. I’ve added new team members, lost one team member and absorbed a huge workload.

While working from home has been a good thing and I’m happy not cycling to Camden every day, my working hours are longer and I’ve been slogging away for ten or so hours a day designing and managing multiple projects whilst hunched over a small laptop.

I’m now approaching the end of the season as twenty projects will be finished for Autumn 2021 and suddenly I’m a little concerned. What does my future look like? Will there be a Spring/ Summer season in the world of licensed product in 2022?

As I work eighteen months in advance, this is a complete unknown. Retail has been closed for months and profits are non-existent.

With recent layoffs I have no doubt of my productivity but if the products aren’t selling, new creative may not be needed.

As the shops are reopening next week, let’s hope the Brits (and the rest of the world) go back to doing what they do best, shopping for stuff they don’t need!

And in the meantime, perhaps I can get to France and use some of my annual leave!

Low Carb Lockdown

While the riots apparently kick off this weekend, historic television is censored, (Little Britain is no longer available so something good is coming from all this) I decided to stay focused on the thing I can control. It was time to start cleaning up my act after becoming the Lockdown Lardarse.

During Lockdown, it just wasn’t the time to deprive oneself of basic pleasures. With everything else we’d given up, we had to have something to enjoy and so we indulged. And the results weren’t good.

With the departure of Big T to France, I decided to take advantage of the time alone to get back on the wagon (weekend drinking only, Wednesday is not the new Friday) and get the extra padding off.

My usual tactics, what works for me is low carb, high protein and high fat. It turns out there’s a name for it, Keto.

It’s easy. Eggs, cheese, lots of salad and vegetables, berries, fish. Obviously not all together but luckily for me, pretty much all my favourite foods. Grilled halliumi salad? Scrambled eggs with feta? Omelette? frittata? Job done.

After five days I have noticed a difference. I’m sleeping brilliantly, my face looks less puffy and the numbers on the scales are heading in the right direction.

While London falls into chaos around me, at least I’ll be ready for summer, if it happens!


Bon voyage

On Monday, Big T printed off his essential travel documents (how easy it used to be), donned a face mask, took a packet of handy antiseptic wipes and set off to Heathrow to see if he could get to France.

Our tenants have moved out for the summer and there were things to be dealt with and so, while second home travel is deemed non-essential, we felt it was worth a try.

And so it was, as a few short hours later (with no social distancing on the plane), Big T was sitting in the square in Valbonne enjoying a beer al fresco as he’d got through without a hitch and was back in the French house for the next couple of months. With a leak in the roof, a pool to sort out and an overgrown garden, he’s got plenty to do.

The bigger challenge now is how Agnes and I will be able to join him as we have to travel through France by train.

With the new UK two week quarantine fiasco (hello, where was this three months ago?) being reciprocated by the French, I don’t fancy a two week stay in Calais upon arrival so more to come on that, hopefully on June 15th.

Bon voyage and bon courage!

50 shades of grey

Just to keep things superficial, three months on I have become Cruella de Badger as my hair has grown a good three inches longer than I would like and unfortunately all of that new growth shows the reality of the situation.

In addition, my hair is thick and now quite big so it’s not exactly Hakuna Matata from Maida Vale!

It seems I have two white streaks at the front and then about fifty other shades varying from dark blond (wishful thinking) to mousy brown. Yes, there was a reason for indulging in expensive hair colouring it would appear!

While hairdressers are still shut and it’s unlikely I’m going to be able to do anything about this until August, I’m soldiering on, resisting the temptation to either cut my hair myself or do a dodgy home colour job as it’s too hard to decide which of the many colours to choose from!

When all this is over, I may embrace the grey, but let’s be honest, I’ll be straight off back to Marylebone to get this mess sorted out.

Where to start?

In the past couple of weeks we’ve seen so many changes in the world that it’s hard to know where to start and what to comment on.

I am concerned about the future as we see peaceful protests become riots, looters breaking into shops to steal trainers (seriously?), race issues becoming more divisive, attempts to “correct” history by statues being defaced and toppled, arguments over whether people who menstruate can be referred to as women.

People are different. People come in different shapes and colours. Some people are better at some things than others. Some people are stronger than others. Some people can run faster than others. We are not one size fits all.

It’s hard to say anything without sounding racist, sexist, fatist, ageist or anything else these days.

I believe in meritocracy. Rewards are given to those who accomplish and achieve. I wouldn’t want to be given a job because of the colour of my skin, the genitals I have or the gender I choose to go to bed with. I don’t want to be a box ticking exercise.

By having an opinion I run the risk of offending pretty much everyone. Yes, black lives matter but don’t all lives matter?

In the UK riots are being predicted for the summer. By posting that on the DailyMail, surely the seed has been sown, wouldn’t it have been better not to suggest social unrest to the masses?

With lockdown in complete chaos, mass gatherings for protests, children not returning to school and the predicted mother of all recessions on the horizon, it’s fun times ahead and so on that note, Big T has departed to France.