Tag: Richard Hawley

Born Under A Bad Sign

What are you like?
You’ve had a right life and taken a long ride,
But oh what a cost…

And all of your life, staring at white lines
Reading the road signs,
And oh what a loss…

Sleeping late in the afternoon, playing your guitar,
Born under a bad sign.


Woke up early and checked on the whereabouts of my bike repair stuff; the tracking suggested it’d be mid-afternoon before it arrived; there was no chance of a ride today. Instead we pottered around the house, which has been increasingly untidy, starting to get things into some semblance of order. After lunch I took the kids for a walk, which was nice – not too warm and not too many people on the streets.

Got home and started to prepare dinner – kebabs and chicken wings cooked on the barbecue, and took delivery of my bead jack. Once the kids were in bed I set about trying to mount the tyre; instead of doing what I’d hoped, the tool snapped in two. These are particularly tough wheels, it seems. Eventually, using a huge amount of tape to hold the tension in the tyres in place, I managed to both get the tyre on and inflated. One down, one to go. The second one went on slightly faster, but only slightly, and started to inflate, pinged into the rim, and then went down again. Now I had a tyre that had a flat tube and I couldn’t get it off no matter how I tried to prise it. Gave up and went to bed frustrated, not managing to get to sleep until gone midnight.


Woke again ridiculously early, annoyed by the tyre, getting back to trying to remove it; in the process of doing so to change the tube I tore the rubber. Annoyed doesn’t even begin to cover it. Replaced the original tyre on the bike; fitting that one was a doddle, and watched some TV with A while we waited for everyone else to wake up and head downstairs.

I’ve been wanting to get out on the bike ever since the exploding inner tube incident, and today I finally had the chance, but setting off much later than I’d originally planned. Left at 10am, heading up through Mitcham, Streatham and Brixton to Blackfriars Bridge, then along the Embankment and home by way of Battersea and Tooting. I’d forgotten how many traffic lights there are on that route, especially in central London, and the number of people out on bikes was somewhat ridiculous too; seemed like half the city was out for a ride. Got home at 12, then a brief chat with the neighbours before lunch, and lighting the BBQ to slow-cook some ribs.

Spent most of the afternoon in the garden; it wasn’t until dinner time that the next disaster struck. I went to the garage door, pulled it to close it and with an almighty clunk it stopped and refused to budge. Had a good look at it and found the problem, but couldn’t fix it myself; I ended up having to call a locksmith to help with the mechanism. He couldn’t repair it either but he could at least secure it until I can get it fixed properly.


Back to work! Had a rare morning of quiet in the house as J took the kids to Banstead Wood for a walk. In between meetings I managed to get hold of a garage door company to come and take a look at my problem in the afternoon; other than that the day was pretty unremarkable. Helpfully the garage repair guys turned up while I was in the middle of a meeting with another team; I had to leave W to fend for himself while I went to sort the paperwork. It’s fixed now, but that was another chunk of cash I’m not too pleased to have had to part with.

The kids were both exhausted by evening; I wonder if there’s something in the air? Got them both into bed at a reasonably early hour, then took the laptop out to the garden, where I had a pleasant evening drinking beer and chatting with friends on Zoom. Tomorrow will hopefully be similar; the sun is shining and all’s as well as can be.

Tonight, The Streets Are Ours

Those people, They got nothing in their souls;
And they make our TVs blind us
From our vision and our goals.
Oh, the trigger of time it tricks you
So you have no way to grow.

But do you know that
Tonight the streets are ours?


Getting far too used to lazy starts. Sent the kids downstairs to watch TV while we lounged in bed. Eventually dragged ourselves out of bed and fed the kids before making a half-hearted attempt at tidying up the kitchen and doing a bit of washing up.

Dragged the kids out into the garden while J was doing a fitness class over zoom. There was much grumbling at first but they both enjoyed planting out the potatoes, and I got the lawn mowed as well. Looks like it’s full of moss. I’ve given up on the front garden, it’s always been pretty scrubby and over the winter it seems like a wild invasion of violas has happened; big parts of the lawn have been usurped by little purple flowers. A few weeks back I sprinkled a load of meadow seed over it; seems like that’s starting to wake up, and later in the year it’ll look wild but pretty.

Just as everything was going a little too well, I sliced into my finger while trying to prepare lunch while distracted by arguing from the garden. The knife is super sharp, so it took a while to get a plaster on it and mop up the blood, but it’s not too deep a cut so in the grand scheme of things, an annoyance rather than a problem.

After lunch, took the bike out for the first time in a week. Aiming for 10 miles, I got home and Fitbit clocked me at a mere 9.93. Damnit. Most of the journey was uneventful but there were a few clowns out there – a group of three women, all pushing buggies close to each other and nattering, and what seemed like the entire population of a small riverside council block sitting out on deckchairs on the grass by the river. The path was a little busier than I’d have liked, and while I could stay well clear of everyone it felt a little claustrophobic at times.

Back home, something had gone wrong with the performance test they’re running. Attempted to log on to AWS but found I’d been locked out of my account. Eventually gained access, having resorted to calling the offshore help desk, and diagnosed the problem as a failure of an application on the other side of a VPC endpoint that belonged to an entirely different part of the business. Cooked a chicken casserole while answering questions on slack, which turned out better than I’d expected (the casserole, not the work, which was much as expected). Got the kids into bed and had a chilled out evening watching the first Ant-Man movie.


Another late, lazy start. Goodness knows where my body clock will be by the time this all ends. At least I had some determination to get things done; spent part of the morning fixing a jammed curtain rail that the kids had done a proper number on, and had been getting increasingly broken over the past six weeks or so. Checked in every now and then with work but all seemed quiet; ready for the big release.

Given the rumours of a more stringent lockdown, I took advantage of the weather and headed out on my bike again, this time sticking to roads. A little bit further this time, but out for about the same amount of time; avoiding potentially crowded (in the loosest possible sense of the word any other year) river paths was probably a good call, I think.

Made pizza for dinner from the “pizza base mix” packets I managed to buy on Friday. Turned out well enough but I don’t think I’ll be repeating the experience, it’s a very expensive way to buy flour and yeast mixed together, and hopefully by next week I’ll have plenty of both. Spoke to mum while the dough was rising, she’s keeping her distance from the world; her only annoyance right now is that her Tesco delivery had no eggs. She’s getting out for walks early before people are about. All sensible stuff.

School term ended on Friday, with a grand total of exactly zero fanfare! As a special end of term treat, we promised Sleeper Jr. that he could stay up late and watch Spider-Man: Homecoming with us. I’d suggested that on the assumption it would be with all the other MCU movies on Disney+. Nope. Thanks, Sony. Fortunately it was available for streaming from Amazon but only paid-for, rather than inclusive. Thankfully it was pretty cheap, or I’d have had to find something else to watch instead. All entertained, I escorted him off to bed, then we headed up ourselves not too much later.