Winter is here

Tim Selfie

I’ve had a self induced few weeks off the bike while doing a mini challenge and some intense training for a half marathon that I completed last week.  Yes, I ran 13.1 miles on the road in just under 1 hour 59 minutes.  I may be a little hooked on the idea of doing more of this, but more on that another day. For now though…

It’s on!

Yes its on, the heating is on. Winter is here! I have caved and let her put the central heating on (but I will be checking the thermostat everyday) and as every bike ride is likely to include a mud bath, its nice to know I can come home to a warm house and a hot shower!

Its the season to “make the most of it”. Getting out on those cold and damp days, rather than when its chucking it down with rain, and get out and do some “Winter miles” for those “Summer smiles”.

Winter miles they say…

The trails on my doorstep are muddy from about mid November through to March.  We pray for the frost and stick to the ones with rocks, roots and less clay content. There is no winter/mud tyre that can cope with clay!

This limits  our options so its time to get some longer rides in. So I got my Winter Season off to a good start on Sunday with about 35 miles of pedaling.

Mud bath

It was just me on Sunday; though I did make plans to meet a few others from MB Swindon for a coffee stop in Marlborough. However that didn’t happen due to the other group of riders having some mechanicals and running over an hour late.

So I did what I like to do and rode, explored, made it up as I went along and stopped to take a few photos.

I had my own “mechanical” that involved forgetting my keys and the rest of the family had gone out. Luckily like a good Boy Scout (I was never in the Scouts), I was prepared.

I was wet and beginning to get cold, so armed only with the contactless paying capabilities of my iPhone I somehow found sustenance and warmth by way of a visit to my local Costa for a cup of tea and cheese toastie. I changed my wet socks, broke out my spare gloves too…  I survived Bear Grylls eat your heart out!



Not a very exciting blog post, but with so many photos taken on Sunday I had to write something and share them…

Coffee Stop #1 of the Day. Greggs in Marlborough
Obligatory Instagram photo


Here’s some of that mud I mentioned
Somewhere under there is a crank and chain ring
That’s nice!

Upside Down Coffee

And now for something completely different…

Most of us mountain bikers (there’s the link!) are coffee or tea snobs and we all believe there are right and wrong ways of making / brewing either one of, or both of these drinks.

Here’s my not so unique method of making coffee with an AeroPress. Other guides are available and I didn’t invent or come up with this method – I just thought I’d use this blog post as an excuse to take some indoor photos on a windy wet day. Continue reading “Upside Down Coffee”

Correct Custard Cream Conduct

I started the day, well the part of the day that I spend in the office, by boiling the kettle and making a cup of tea. This action in itself was unusual as I tend to have coffee at work – but today I really fancied a biscuit and tea goes better with a biscuit than coffee in my opinion. A debate for another day perhaps..

The sound of the kettle boiling is sweet background music to sounds of the computers booting, light switches flicking, blinds opening and the rustle and shuffle of paperwork as our small but perfectly formed office comes to life.

Once the desk is ready for action its time to pour the tea/coffee and begin the day. Now I usually have a cereal bar or similar at the same time I have my morning coffee, but today I really wanted a biscuit with my cup of tea. And as luck would have it I have few packets in my desk which leads to the first dilemma of do I open the Custard Creams or the Bourbons – chocolate just didn’t feel right, so Custard Creams it is!

Now this is where it gets interesting – honestly it does and I appreciate you sticking with me up until now.

What is the correct way to conduct yourself when opening and eating from a packet of Custard Creams or any biscuit for that matter?

For starters, where do you open the packet? At the end or that little point a little way along that invites you to “Tear Here”?

Open at the end and the first biscuit will be broken – FACT. Unless you are eating Fig Rolls or some other biscuit of softer construction (actually Fig Rolls usually come in some sort of card tray so this may not be that relevant). What do you do with that broken biscuit? Is it OK to scoff it straight away and treat the first whole biscuit as the first biscuit of the packet? I posed this question on Facebook and got a few responses. Here are a few you may wish to consider should you find yourself pondering the same scenario:

  • “Yes it is and should not be questioned” – Rob
  • “you’ll never change, I can remember that line from a long time ago” – Mum
  • “Yes, and likewise you cannot leave a broken one when you take the second last.” – Steve

So it seems that eating the broken biscuit and the next one is a common activity and should not be questioned. Everyone does this and I have been doing it for years; (thanks Mum) and my good friend Steve pointed out that the same occurs at the other end of the packet also.

What you certainly don’t do is discard it or any broken biscuit and its crumbs in the bin. It is not to be treated as a casualty of the inferior biscuit packaging business – it has a right to be eaten like any other biscuit.

What if you decide to open at the “Tear Here” point? Depending on how vigorously you have opened the packet the biscuit you will be presented with could be the second or even third biscuit along! Are the first two destined for instant consumption? I’ll leave that one for you to decide.

The above dilemma is relevant to my office space as I don’t have a biscuit barrel on my desk. (Hmmm now there’s an idea!) But at home you will invariably decant the biscuits into a traditional biscuit tin or barrel for later less controversial biscuit consumption, possibly along with an assortment of other biscuits (but not Ginger ones). No, you never mix Ginger biscuits with other varieties – I like Ginger biscuits but they have no place in a barrel with other more delicate flavours.

Once opened and the broken biscuit at the end has been eaten, you should carefully place the remaining packet in the biscuit barrel. While broken biscuits are equally as tasty as whole fully formed biscuits, breaking them carelessly like this is a unnessessary process. PLEASE TAKE CARE! After they have been carefully placed in the barrel you may be left with a few that “won’t quite fit”. Do you cram them in (no you don’t), seal the packet to keep them from going stale – what do you do with them? My opinion is that providing there are no more than 2 left over this is an acceptable number of biscuits to have with your tea – as well as the leading broken biscuit of course. More than this and you should either offer the barrel straight away to your fellow tea/coffee drinkers to make some room, or you should save the rest of the packet to top up the barrel at a later biscuit eating and tea drinking session.

I think that covers this delicate topic – time for another cup of tea. Or coffee?

Back to Work


First day back in the office today. I had a new mug for Christmas so the first coffee tasted good in a new vessel…

January is going to be a busy month as we have some visitors from the US expecting to be entertained and taken to customers and generally kept busy. Somewhere in the middle I may even have to skip over to the US myself, so I think February could be here before I know it.

First day back usually involves reminding myself what I should be doing and doing those few things I brushed aside thinking they could wait til the new year… Turns out they couldn’t wait and need to be done now!