Friday, 25 April 2008

beer me

sierra nevada beers finally seems to be getting easier to find around here. once hidden away in speciality offies, you can regularly find their pale ale and celebration in the local supermarket.

a speculative drop in to oddbins last week found two new treats:

esb - an early spring beer
bigfoot - a barleywine style ale

the esb is bee-yoo-tiful. hoppy, but not too hoppy. like pale ale ++

was a bit wary of the bigfoot (as you should be) and i left it in the fridge overnight 'til sunday to work myself up to it. malty, hoppy and strong at 9.6% - a little ott for me.

mondays are meant for hangovers.

Monday, 21 April 2008

cook like an egyptian

kushari for tea tonight - an egyptian staple of rice, lentils, onions and a spicy tomato sauce.

simmer lentils in water until al dente
fry a few garlic cloves oil until garlic goes nice and brown - discard garlic
add rice to the garlic-y oil and briefly fry until you get a bit of colour in the rice
add veg stock with a wee bit of ground cinnamon and nutmeg to pan and cook rice through
fry onions until brown
layer the cooked lentils/rice/onions in a bowl - save some onions to garnish

for the sauce, chuck into a pan:
can tomatoes (strain a bit of the liquid off first)
2 x chillies
some garlic
a wee dod of ground cumin
few tablespoons of vinegar
some water
bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes

add sauce to lentils/rice/onions and garnish with a few more onions.


Sunday, 20 April 2008


a lazy start meant we were too late to head to pitlochry for a wander up ben vrackie, so we stayed local and headed up west lomond from craigmead instead.

lovely in the lee of the hill, loads of skylarks out doing what they do best. looking out to snow covered hills to the north and right along the ochils - bit hazy, view on a clear day must be spectacular.

few folks out on mtbs, including a singlespeeder. must head up for a wee evening ride soon.

stepping up and stepping down and stepping up

last night (well friday) i gave my kind-of-best-man's speech to about 100 guests at gordon and susan's wedding celebration in edinburgh. seemed to go fine, even though I had a wee wobbly bit in the middle.

tonight (just now) i've just sent an email stepping down from a trail building group that i've helped out with for the past few years. the deceitful acts of certain individuals within Forestry Commission Scotland mean that I can no longer justify throwing my time away - their most senior management and political overlords seem uninterested in calling those responsible to task. I wish CVDG all the best in the future.

tomorrow - think we'll go for a wander up a hill somewhere. most likely ben vrackie, a wee hill we last climbed in winter 2003, with friday's bride and groom Susan and Gordon (in the background of the bottom photo).

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


seem my desire for dragging myself out of bed for a long commute gone for ride out it's own. i've not commuted by bike since mid-February. there wasn't a single commute in 30from30.

in 10 years of bike commuting i've not enjoyed being:
deliberately driven at
accidentally driven at
forced off the road
nearly taken out by vans/trucks/buses
spat at
the target for bottles/can/snowball throwers & cigarette flickers
screamed/shouted at by drivers and passengers
taken out by a pothole
blown over
stopping every 250 meters to clear my glasses with the undercrackers du

i have enjoyed:
going the long way in
going the long way home
blowing kisses at those trapped in traffic
shouting and swearing at drivers that don't give a toss
deliberately clipping a wing mirror or two
helping folks with punctures
snot rocketing on the boss's bonnet
flicking the vees
getting fitter
losing weight
arriving at work with wobbly legs
arriving at work with a smile

a house move a couple of years ago pushed up my bike commute to nearly 18 miles e/w (from 14). 14 was a nice number of miles. a good length of time to be on the bike. east in the morning, west at night, pretty much a straight line from linlithgow to the office. in summer with the prevailing wind and a sea breeze, i could do it in under 1h20m - there and back. the "new" commute is a wonky U shaped ride. 10 miles east to the forth road bridge, over the bridge and a zig-zag journey on the south side of the forth estuary to a business park on the western edge of edinburgh - an hour e/w in the summer, an hour and a bit in winter.

what to do? for the last couple of days caught the train in, then ridden home.

it's commuting, but only just.

[edit]passed 1000 mile mark for the year on the way home tonight[/edit]

Sunday, 13 April 2008


i have a lot of writing to do today.

* a best-man-ish speech for a wedding-ish on friday
* a note to the scottish information commissioner on why the scottish government should reveal the advice given to the previous minister for sport
* some views on the sxc last sunday

and what have i achieved?

* the washing has been sorted and put away
* dinner has been decided and a shopping list written
* couple of podcasts searched out and downloaded
* written this

back in a while - still have to do the ironing, read the paper, hang up the washing, put on a new load, watch paris-roubaix, find the blank CDs, wash the mtb, cut the grass and have lunch.

then i'll get started...

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


not really been on a bike much since 30from30 - couple of laps of the laggan xc course on sunday, rollers for a wee while on monday and a quick road spin tonight.

saturday was a guid meal out with deano and most of tspc. most wasapeas and later trains please.

sunday was commissairing at laggan. up at 6, very scary drive up a snowy a9 (clearing the way for the snowplows) and then a bit of a nightmare day. new administrators and new start times meant that things were a bit of a shambles. still, at least my jinx of sending two folks to A&E per race seems to have ended and the course was great - a short lap with one big forest road climb and a rocky, singletrack descent - views of big snowy peaks all around from the top of the course. added to the list of SXC races worth doing.

Friday, 4 April 2008

stoorie brae

the spiritual home of tspc
the proving ground of old
place of much fun and mischief
and grand views.

smell of zebras
and of occasionally brewing beer
big red
oor wullie, soapy soutar, fat boab and wee eck.