Archive for March, 2017

Why Does Everybody Call Me “Big ‘Ead”?

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

As long term readers will remember, Purple Fred (Whom I Love Very Much) and I are registered with a company that sends out free tickets to be in the audience for recordings of TV shows. We haven’t been to one for ages, but she snagged us tickets for a recording of a new game show at the weekend, to be filmed at Elstree studios. It’s a new show that’s never been on before so we were asked to divulge little in the way of detail, but I can say that it’s called “Big Heads”, it will be on ITV on Sunday teatimes and according to the pre-event blurb it attempts to answer the question “What would happen if Camilla Parker-Bowles rugby tackled Donald Trump?”. Leaving aside that the real answer is probably “an international incident”, it promises to make some interesting viewing.

Knowing the way these things work, we got into the queue outside the audience gates for Elstree studios at 5 PM, an hour before the advertised gate opening time, at which time we were about thirtieth in line. By the time the gate finally opened, about twenty minutes late, the queue had stretched to about five hundred people, as well as the usual smattering of first timers who went straight to the security man at the head of the queue claiming “but we’ve got tickets!” – to which the answer is, of course, “so has everyone else, now get to the back of the line”.

Filming started at about twenty past seven, and with the usual technical delays – plus some unexpected ones – it quickly became obvious that the advertised finish time of twenty to ten was just a pipe dream on the part of whoever was paying the studio crew’s overtime bill. I’ve been to one of these before – at BBC Wood Lane – which overran so much that I only just made the last underground train back to Waterloo1 , and this one looked like going the same way – although as we had the car this time it was less of an issue. By eleven o’clock the people sat behind us, who had to drive back to Warrington that night, were starting to get a bit restless, and I was glad we were only going back to Purple Fred’s ancestral mansion half an hour up the road rather than the two hour haul back home. The genial bearded host commented during one of the technical breaks “you came here expecting a nice evening out and it’s turning into a hostage situation!” .

I must add here, in case I’ve given the wrong impression, that it was huge fun and we’ll definitely do similar things again.

We finally left just before midnight – by which time filming still hadn’t finished, but all that was left was the closing scene and the genial host’s final piece to camera, and they’d filmed the audience infill shots for those earlier in the evening so they didn’t need us any more. By then the local McDonald’s drive through had closed, so as well as being tired and grumpy we were hungry and grumpy too…and then I took a wrong turning which added fifteen minutes to our evening, or should I say early morning.

Once I found the A1(M) the only event of any note was when I was going exactly on the speed limit (it was just about the right time for the traffic police to have all their anti-drunk-driver patrols out in force, and although I’d obviously have blown a clean breath test, getting stopped for speeding would only delay our journey). We were overtaken by an Audi going so fast I thought for a moment I’d stopped and parked without noticing.

We were back indoors just after one in the morning, and collapsed into bed, only surfacing ten hours later just in time for lunch!

And for the benefit of anyone younger than me, who may be wondering, the title of today’s piece is a line from a Max Bygraves song.

1 as referenced in this blog post


Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

So…following on from previous comments, I sorted out my bike’s brake cable.

A few weeks ago, I noticed in the bike cage at work that someone had dropped what looked like a couple of artery clamps on the ground. Another bike user and I had a giggle about how they might have got there, but I think I know now…as well as clamping arteries, they’re pretty good for holding bike brake cables steady to tighten up the tension adjuster!

Anyway, as you might have seen on Facebook, I had a puncture on the way to work on Monday. I’ve had punctures before of course, but this was the first one affecting a work journey. I’d only gone about a mile, but I was a bit annoyed at the holdup as I’d sailed straight through greens without having to wait at the first two sets of lights, so a fast time was on the cards.

I always carry in the bike bag an aerosol tyre mending thing: just screw it on to the tyre valve, press the button and it fill the inner tube with foamy stuff that seals the puncture and partly reinflates the tyre. It doesn’t work if the hole in the inner tube is too big, and it doesn’t last more than a couple of days but it’s a good quick fix. So I hooked it up and pressed the plunger. And after a few seconds was covered in foamy stuff which had leaked out. Looks like the hole is too big then.

Still, no matter: occasions like this are the reason I also always carry a spare inner tube, and five minutes work had the tyre reinflated properly and me tryng to get at least some of the dirt off my hands. In another couple the bike is the right way up and I’m on my way.

And before I get to the end of the road I have another puncture. In the same tyre.

I only carry one can of foamy stuff and one spare inner tube, so this is the point at which I walk the bike home, lock it in the garage and use the hospital park ‘n ride to get to work. Two days later and the puncture is fixed, but there’s something wrong with the wheel thatI couldn’t fix before I ran out of daylight last night. Hopefully I can sort that this evening, or it’s park and ride for the rest of the week for me, and off to the bikeshop on Saturday morning.

Still, I did say the bike was due a service anyway, didn’t I?

It’s A Drag

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Leaving work last night I noticed that my bike’s back brakes were a bit loose, so I tightened the cable. I knew there was still a little bit of friction between the blocks and the rims – i.e. I’d overtightened the cable – but I thought that the first few quick dabs on the brakes as I whizzed down Dale Road hill would sort that out.

It was only as I was puffing up the last big hill to home that I realised I was still being held back, and this morning cycling to work was like riding through treacle (and yes, I’ve checked the tyre pressures). I think the brakes need a bit more adjustment – mind you, the bike and I have now clocked up 2000 miles together so it’s due another proper service anyway. Got to organise that some time.