The Wreck of the Beautiful

When the Beautiful set sail back in 1970,
She was state of the art, the flagship of our navy.
But the salt sea took its toll and the rust began to show,
And with a heavy heart we took her to the breaker’s yard.

I thought I heard her call.
Maybe I heard nothing at all.
I thought I heard her call
From the wreck of the beautiful.


Same start as the day before; a swift-is breakfast before a start to the second part of the security audit. Got pinged on Slack by D asking about a blocker on one of my other projects; I was confused because I thought it was all in hand. Following up later, I discovered that it’s some third team who need to make a small change have declined to do so for what I can tell is no good reason; I pulled some strings so hopefully that’ll fall into place very soon. I eventually broke for “lunch” around 2pm.

Took delivery of my new bike in the morning, so spent my lunch break putting the handlebars and pedals on, with the assistance of the kids, before finishing up at a sensible time and cooking a curry for dinner. As seems to happen frequently, didn’t get the kids into bed until late; that said they were both asleep earlier than they’ve been recently. Evidently tired out!


Bank Holiday Friday. There’s a thing that doesn’t happen very often. Also something that doesn’t happen very often these days is that everyone’s up, dressed, and breakfasted before 9.

Attempted to head out on a ride on my new bike; was barely ten yards down the road when I realised the folly of trying to set it up in the garden where there’s no room to ride. Went back and raised the saddle quite a way. Set off again, feeling a lot more comfortable. Managed the big hill just by my house no problem, but started to realise the brakes aren’t set up quite right and my stopping distance is way too high, reinforced by the heart-in-mouth moment when a car, with the first idiot driver I’ve seen in a very long time, turned across my path without looking. Later on I decided the angle of the drop bars needs tweaking. I also need to train myself out of the habit of putting my hands on the flats, expecting there to be brakes there. Don’t know if it’s because I’m used to that from my other bikes, or some dormant muscle memory from the 1980s road bike I had in my teens which had a way of getting to the brakes there. Biggest annoyance was that the Fitbit stopped syncing ten miles in. No idea what my pace was like for the last seven miles or so. A decent first trip though, was glad to be out despite the sun being a little to warm for what I’m used to.

While I’d been out on the bike, J and the kids had been making bunting for the VE50 day celebration. Had a cup of coffee with them then made the bike adjustments; brakes are now a bit keener and hopefully I won’t feel so uncomfortable riding with my hands on the hoods. Pottered a little with the vegetables, mostly trying to rescue any of the carrot seedlings that the wildlife seems to be trying very hard to pull up.

After lunch, made a pizza dough and set about trying to tidy the garage and clear an overgrown flowerbed in the front garden to grow sunflowers in with the kids. Got there in the end, but it wasn’t quick work, and there’s lots more we really need to do in the garden even if we’re leaving the lawn to meadow. Pizza came out thick and chewy; it’s inspired me to maybe attempt a Detroit-style one soon.

Finished up the day reasonably early and watched Ready Player One in the evening. Not sure what I made of it; I read the book a number of years ago and enjoyed the retro references, not so much the story, especially the reveal of Aech’s real identity, which didn’t fit for me with the way the character had spoken and thought earlier in the novel. The film was better in a number of story related ways, but the nostalgia fell flat for me. Probably a combination of pop-culture-at-ninety-miles-an-hour working better on the printed page, and the problem of licensing. It needed more Simon Pegg too – but then I’m struggling to think of a film where he’s a supporting actor that doesn’t.

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