16
May
09

Driving, an iTouch and an End to Term

Guess what?

Uncle Wozzer has PaSSED his DRIVING TEST!!!!1!

Indeed, second time round, with only 5 minors, i have passed! I’m really chuffed about it, and have driven plenty of times scince i passed. I’m getting used to the Hondas silly clutch and didn’t stall once today!

In other news, I am now the proud owner of an iTouch! My friend Mat was selling his and i jumped at the chance! I’ve plonked some music on, and got a few cool games too! I’m very impressed, as are my family (especially younger siblings!) One of Mats reasons for selling it was; getting OCD-ly annoyed with finger prints. I now see his reasoning, but a quick rub with the corner of a tshirt cleans it up well enough, and besides – it is a touch screen, of course it’s going to get covered in finger prints!

This week coming up is my final week in full time education! it’s actaully quite sad. Exams are annoying, but hey. I’m going to miss my friends, certainly, and – to some degree – school. Some of my teachers are just plain cool, some well, aren’t. But¬†I think i’m going to miss school life, socalising with my friends (who are all running off to Uni, silly people he he) and hanging around the Sixth Form block. Sigh.

And, speaking of sad things, one of our cats has died recently. It was Areo, and he got hit by a car. We all miss him, and his dopey look, his silly noise… The first time i drove after passing my test was taking him to the vets. RIP.

Well, on to the future; this summer is set to be fairly fun! I may be goign to the safari park with mates (i drive ūüôā ), I’m going on a roadtrip to Scotland with my Bible Studies House Group, and we’ve got a family holiday planned too! lus results day, and i’ll soon be finding companies for my apprenticeship! Fun fun fun!

Unitl the next post,

Uncle Austin Wozzer

30
Apr
09

The Month After April

In case you hadn’t guessed, it’s May.

The foremetioned month is just around the provverbial corner. It is in actual fact, beginning tomorrow. I realised this while looking at my calendar, and saw April had almost run out. I then looked at my blog and realised that¬†I hadn’t posted since the beginning of the month! With the next month loooming,¬†I thought i’d plonk a post down.

Well, April has been interesting. Playing host to Easter was its main attraction. Scince the 2nd (last post) i’ve been to Jo’s party (which was good) prepped for church, went to work, and helped with Sunday Lunch at church – all in the first weekend. The followig week was Easter holidays!¬†I started it off by doing overtime at work, two mornings in a row! i did a few little rides by myself, and a big one with church, 32 miles by the end of it! We went to the safari park for younger bros birthday. I also went to a posh suit ‘n’ tie lecture accompanied by posh¬†dinner. Older bros birthday was in the next weekend, he was back at Cambridge by then, so¬†I sent him a card! And finally, just today (30th) I went for an interveiw for my aprrenticeship, a face to face one, not the exam style¬†I did last time.

So, that was April! Now onto May! (no, not women in beds – he he) May holds my younger sisters birthday, Grandmas birthday, my next driving test, the end of sixthform (eek lol) and some early exams! Should be fun! Looking furthur into the future, July will hopefully host my Bible-Btudies-House-Group trip to Iona, Scotland! It’s going to cost¬† a small packet, but hey – it’s Scotland (plus road trip) for a week! And i’ll hopefully be driving by then, in fact i’m counting on it!

Any old how, i’ve run out of things to type about!

Until the next post

Uncle Austin Wozzer

02
Apr
09

Spring, Clocks, Easter, and a Party or two

Yup, thats pretty much the last few days.

It’s spring, as if the general popualce hasn’t already realised. It’s the season of weird weather (traditoinally to my mind) and we’ve certainly had that. A few weeks back, it felt like summer had skipped over spring. Now, the cooler edge to the weather is back, not that i’d notice. I know a few people who’ve moaned that the clocks going forward has messed with thier body clocks. Personally, i’m in doubt about whether i actually have a body clock, so i was mostly unaffected. The late nights around the time didn’t help much if i’m honest.

Easter’s on its way. I do belive Easter Sunday is the 12th. We break up for the choclate driven festivities in the name of the one who died ofr our sins on the 3rd, this Friday. Some are looking forward to much choccy and more choc. Personally, I wouldn’t pehaps say no to a large amount of choccy, but I don’t expect much, this time is to remember the new life being born, and how our sins where taken by one man so we may all be saved. But, at any rate, i’m looking forward to the break from the increasinly frantic A Levels.

i haven’t posted scince the 16th, the day after we got back from my Lake-side cycling Birthday celebrations. And such, many things have happened scince then. Well, some things, perhaps not that many. Mat had a meal out for his birthday, ‘Hello, Cafe Zamzams? Yes, i’d like to book a table for 23’!!!. It was fun, even if i did wander down to the green, following friends on their way home, having fun along the way. Indeed, being 18 and mucking about in the park at something past 11 is rather fun. That friday, we went bowling for Tashys birthday. After the major failure with the train, and thus the bus (lol rhyme), we had a good evening. Normally, i’m quite good at bowling, but that evening i was ‘chivalrous’ and let the brithda girl win (i just did crap for some reason). Raymonds 18th was the day after, but he had major courseworks to do, so his celebratiopn wasn’t untill the next weekend. We went to his house and watched a film and had chinese (or pizza for those who didn’t like forgein foods, which pizza isn’t of sarcastic course).

Monday the 30th I had an “assesment session” at WGTA. It was easy, tested to GCSE standard, I coasted. After a trotf round Worcester i returned to Malvern, and pedaled down to school, despite it having ended moments after arriving. But, it was for a good reason! Our Japenese Sensei had asked us all over for ‘tea’. It was fun, the whole calss, all 6 of us, walked over to her house. Then we knelt round the table (yes knelt, ow my poor battle worn knees) and the stood up again to dress the girls in kimono’s. I got them to play rock-paper-scissors to decide on the colours. After that we kenlt down again, and then i stood up to help sensei with the Tea (ocha, traditional Jap tea) and played host (which was rather professional, apparently). Sensei then showed us how to make onigiri, rice balls, and rolled sushi. It was all very tasty. Then Jo had brought along a cheesecake. Presented on the table we sat around saying it looked too good to cut up. After some hesitation of the group, I offered to cut. I’ve done it at home so often, i didn’t think much of it. But, apparently, it looked very professional, very skillful. It was really fun, tanoshikatta desu.

Then Tesuday, Driving test. Mike and I did an emergency stop (the only thing we hadn’t yet covered), then we went for it. Met the examiner, did paperwork, got int he car. It all felt good, but that one stupidly invisible car caused a major, and thus a fail (DAMMIT). And most annoying? the next available slot isn’t for a month!!!! And the cost of said test have gone up. Oh well, next time…

Until the next post,

Uncle Austin Wozzer

16
Mar
09

Old man having fun…

Wozzer is now officially 18!!

Old enoguh to drink, drive and have sex, in any combination / order!! (though i have a feeling all three at the same time may be a little difficult)

Anyway, being 18 doesn’t feel much different to 17, apart from feeling exhausted from the lack of sleep over the last couple of days. Namely, the Lakes! In the last post¬†I mentioned going to the Lakes for a cycling weekend to celebrate my Birthday. And it was BRILLIANT!! The motorway cruise on the way up was good, traffic light, lunch good. Then, we got to Hawkshead, collected the key to our ‘cottage’ and went to the ‘cottage’. We pulled up the drive, which was VERY up and zig-zagged, cool. Then the ‘cottage’, it wasn’t a cottage, it was a ruddy mansion! It had been built in the 17-somethings as a holiday home for a stonkingly rich family. Now it’s devided into flats, ad brilliant flats, nice high ceilings, big rooms, etc.

We unpacked the car, sorted out rooms, spoke to the caretaker dude who was really friendly. He told us that there was 37 acres of land belonging to the estate, and we were free to wander round it all! and there was a boat, the mansion was on the side of a hill with a lake in the valley below, and Broomrigs (the manison owners) had a rowing boat! Oars and life jakets are in there, keys hanging up just tuogh that doors over there, feel free. That aftenoon we had an explore of the gardens, which was fun. There was a strem runnign right thoruhg, so we followed it down for a bit, then got to the fence, so went back up and explored behind the mansion. A qucik go on the swings, and exploring further up later we headed back, the light fading. I cursed the lacking holiday kitchin equpitment as I cooked spag-bol. Holiday houses always have rubbish kitchins, and always have one bit if kit you really want missing, grrr.

So, Friday… We hit Grizedale!! In the drizzly low cloud sort of weather. We putthe bikes on the car, drove over to the centre, hired Mat a bike, and hit the trails! We did the purple with a quick lap of the blue. However, on the blue we hit a problem, or I did. My wheel went flat within one corner. Puncture, dammit. Rainy, cold (apparently) and annoyed I decided to carry it to the car park which wasn’t too far. Five minutes later,¬†I was fed up, so treid to fix it by the road side. I pulled the tube out, and discovered it was a fairly large hole, caused by a shard of glass!! in the whole ruddy forest, with thorns, splinters, sharp rocks etc areound¬†I hit the one peice of man made material for miles around!! We whacked in the spare tube, and pumped it up, but it too started hissing! Dammit AGAIN! it was a slow leak, so¬†I tried to ride it, but it felt too wrong, so¬†I jumped off and pushed it (at a run) to the car park, where we stopped again, and fixed the holed tube, then looked at the hissing tube, to discover it was a dodgy patch. Fixed that too, swore several times at the little hand pump as we struggled to get decent pressure in the tyre, then headed on. but, after the big fun steep descent we hit a closure sign. The trail beyond was closed for logging! DAMMIT! So we noticed a foot trail next to us, going down and toward the centre, so we took that, a thin path with big rocks, no probs on foot, fun on bike! leafy hair pins – fun – and a muddy rocky slope, and then smooth tarmac past several interesting sculptures. Then there was the bridge! big sod of a thing spanning a bit of a valley like thing, and guess what we did depsite the fact the bridge went nowhere we wanted to go, yup – we rode over it (Ben and Myself) and then back over LOL!! anyway, we enede up back at the hire centre, and decided we were wet and muddy enough for one day. and with 8 miles we felt like we actually did something.

After that we went back to the mansion, unloaded the bikes, cleaned up and headed onto Ambleside where we did a bit of shopping, visiting the heavenly bike shop that is Bike Treks! Even Mat, who isn’t inot bikes thopught it was cool (or perhaps he was too busy looking at the shop assistant if you get my drift) I got a long sleeve jersey for cycling, I don’t feel the cold, so am probably going to get frostbite on my arms without realising, so i’ve invested in this long sleve jersey. We got Mat some alco-pops (he doesn’t like beer or wine – wimp) And afetr a meal of Tortelli we watched RND on telly. Dad gave up around 10, Ben went before midnight, Mat despite his best efforts gave up at 1am, and i kept goign till 2am, at which time i was half asleep anyway, so curled up on the sofa, and slept there.

Saturday, we went back to Grizedale – But first, ROWING! We decide to have a go on the lake, have bacon sandwiiches at the mansion, the go cycling. Thus we got the key, a lifejacket each (excluding dad who didn’t want to¬†come) and some oars and headed down to the lake. We unlocked the boat, which was chained to a tree, uased several sticks to push it out, then started rowing. I was at the oars, Mat was up at the prow, and Ben was on the bench seat to the back of the boat. Once i got my rythm going Mat spotted and interesting looking yellow sign on a tree on the other side of the lake. Having no better plan, we went for it, a good 15 / 20 mins later we got there going in a very wonky line. thanks to some injuries in the past, my left shoulder in weaker than my right, so the boat kept going in a slow arc! Anyway we got to the other side, and the sign was about poaching. That other line of trees looked interesting, so we headed for it. Mat had a go rowing, and we soon established he can’t. his co-ordination was off, and he drifted worse than¬†I did! Plus he kept splashing. So i ook over, and we got fed up of the wind driving us sideways, away from the island, and so not going anywhere. So we headed back to shore. after a bit of wrestling, with directions from navigator Mat, i lined the tub up with the beach area, and went for it. a decently stright line later we hit the beach with a satisfying crunch of whatever is at the bottom of¬†a lakes shallows. e locked it up again, and went back to the Mansion where we had bacn butties.

Then we hit Grizedale again!! After the discussion over bacon, we decided to follow the green route. Which was brilliant! Only 10.5 miles, but mostly up or level-ish. it was cool all the way round, then we found the good bit! Last time i rode Gizedale, my younger bro and I did this bit the other way round, and ended up climbing for 3.5 miles. This time, we were going down!!¬†I didn’t drop below 15 for corners, and on the striaght got up to 30! Roaring down with Ben we got to the btoom, and stopped. We looked and each other, then laughed – that was bloody fun, high five for that!! Mat (who arrived shortly after) also thought that was brilliant, and also high fived. Then Dad caught up and said he thouroughly enjoyed that. A short peadl later and we were back at the hire place. We had a coffe and decide we’d had enough fun for one day.

That evening we went out for a meal. seeing as it was my choice of place, i went into the first pub i saw that seemed nice. We ordered drinks, three pints and a WKD. Mat then said “you can tell whos the woman here” while clutching his alco-pop. We all laughed, and ordered food. After the food (which was good) we had more drinks, Mat opting for a cider this time, and talked about stuff, like bikes and beer and cars.¬†I feel soory for Mat, who isn’t particulary interested in those kinds of things, but he seemed happy enough to sip his cider and read the Sun paper.

And sunday, we got up, packed, cleaned, loaded the car and set off for home. The motorway was busy, but flowing freely. We stopped for an early lunch, Burger King, and cruised past Brumham, we stopped once more for a toilet break and got back to Malvern about 2:30 ish. We dropped Ben off, bike and all. Then we let Mat off on his drive and rolled down through West Malvern, the narrow roas feeling natural after the Lakes. We got home, unpacked, had birthday cake and later a chinses take-away, acompanied with a beer ūüôā

So, in conclusion, a very fun weekend away for my 18th!

untill the next post,

Uncle Austin Wozzer

08
Mar
09

Gettin’ old, time to party!

Indeed, Uncle Wozzer is getting old…

The grand old age of 18 is but a week away! And to celebrate this event, I’m off to the Lake District! Thursday, mid/late morning Dad and I load up the car with provisions and bikes, collect Benni and his bike, and then pick up Mat (without his bike, which is a roady thing), then hit the motorways. We’ll stop at a nice place a few minutes off the motorway for lunch (stopped there before with family when we went last summer). It’s next to a canal, and the food was quite nice. Then we get to the Lake District. We’ll be staying in a cottage near where I did last time (almost literally behind). Then, Friday and Saturday we’ll be hitting Grizedale!! Then back on the Sunday.

I’m really looking forward to it, and hope the waether stays OK! Mats bringing his Wii, so we’ll have fun in the evenings! I’m also looking forward to having more time at Grizedale, last time we had sort of 3/4 of a day there, and only did two (ish) routes. This time, I plan to do the “Black Route” the longest, the hardest route they have!! Estimated riding time over 2 hours!!! Though, that’ll probably be on the second day, or afternoon of the first day possibly… we’ll see

Also, in other news, I had my Theory test last Thursday… and PASSED!!!! YAY! So, next lesson, i’ll have¬†a talk with my Instructor, and see when i can do my actual test! And, because of this, i’ve been looking at cars (again) and like the idea of a little Suzuki Alto or Fiat Cinqequento (however you spell it) or a Fiat Sicento (also misspelt) which are really dinky little cars, but seem good enough. But it’s not the cost of the car, it’s the ¬£1500¬†)give or take)¬†for insurance! admittedly that is per year, but still works out to ¬£200 a month! Anyway, we’ll see…

Untill the next post

Uncle Austin Wozzer

20
Feb
09

Feb-yoo-airy…

Well, seeing as the last post was at the end of January, I thought this one’d be about Febuary

Or, more accuratly, whats been happening so far! Basically, in case you hadn’t guess, there isn’t much to be posting about, thus this is more of an update post than anything else. Aaaand you can tell this because i’m blathering on here trying to bulk out this first paragraph.

Any old how,¬†not a lot happened in the closing days of Jan. Exams for me had been over for a¬†week, And I was back at VIth Form as normal. Well, thats not really ture.¬†That last week of Jan was still study leave for a lot of people, so hardly anyone was about, so i had most of that week off, after goign in for an hour or two, then getting bored and comming home. On one of the days, I went to McD’s with some friends by car, and then back to ViForm via house to look at the PS3.¬†And another day¬†I trned up a bit late, met some friends who were outside in Bus Bay, who said there was no-one about even though the exam had just turned out. So, seeing as Mat was about to cycle home, I didn’t even get off my bike, turned round and plodded home with him.¬†But other than those little mild adventures, nothing happened in the last week of January.

Then Febuary began, and everyone was back from exams. We had Monday, then the schools was closed on Tuesday due to snow (which never fell in the end) Wednesday was business as usual, Thursday was closed from snow again, as was Friday. So the first Febuary weekend was 4 days!! The week after was normal, nothing special happened. Then the third week was worth talking about, well the end of it was.

Benni’s birthday is on Valentines, but we decided to go to Worcetser on the evening of the 13th (friday the 13th oooooh). Banni and¬†I headed in by train, others came by car. Pizza hut was followed by walking over to the cinema to find whatever we watched Ben and I would miss the last train. After some head scratching, we decided to go bowling, Marc (driving car) took us all in two trips across Worcs. We bowled, I won 2 games out of the 3 (oh yeah, eat them biscuits), and it was all fun. Now came more fun, so we’d all get home at a decent hour, we decided one fperson would have to ride in the boot!!¬†I voulentered, coz i’m a nutter LOL!! After some “careful” driving by Marc, twice round the Powick roundabout, heavy on the brakes at the Powick lights, and accelerating off speed bumps. We got to Powick with only mild concussion on my part, dropped ‘ninja’ off at his house in Powick, I was let out of the boot, andwe headed back into Malvern, here i was dropped off at the station to cycle my bike home (was how i got down to the station in the first place) and got home just before midnight.

It was a fun night. Aaaand now this week, it’s half term!! Saturday at work the Dishwasher was broken, so¬†I had to wash by hand. And it was a busy day! It was fairly knackerng. Monday morning¬†I was due to do another shift (overtime if you will) but thankfully the Dishwasher had recovered, so was working. Teusday, I can’t remember what we did, but i’m sure we did something. Wednesday, in the afternoon I (plus parents) went to Hereford for a HGTA open day. Which was very interesting, and useful. Thursday I declined the offer to go to Worcs, and went riding on the hills with Ben instead. It was good, it was the first time we’d ridden in ages, and it was just a trundle. We stopped to look at the veiw on the ZIG-Zags, and ended up talking about cars and driving for ages, then the Beacon was skirted, the ridge was hit and we stopped at the Shack. There we had some sustanence as it was around lunch time at that point. And talked about loads of stuff for ages. Then headed back along Jubillee Drive, Wyche Road and home our various ways.

And today, Friday, I went to a) the dentist and b) Worcs. The dentist was it’s usual nightmare. Then to Worcs, to see Bolt at Vue. It was quite cool. Then Angel Chef for lunch, and we split up for a bit of shopping, I bought a book, looked in some shops at phones, a longsleeve jersey for riding in the winter, and one or two other things. Then we all met up again for a coffee, I then bought myself another book, and two CD’s in HMV as there was an offer, and they had two CD’s¬†I liked, so hey.

Well, thats the past. And indeed the Present, more or less. So now the future: March. March is the month that holds my birthday. And for my 18th, I’m off to the Lake District for a cycling holiday with some friends! Also, before that I have my Thoery test to look forward to, on the 5th.

And thats about it for the moment, i.e. i’ve run out of ideas / inspiration / things to write about.

So, untill the next post

Uncle Austin Wozzer

26
Jan
09

How to fix a buggered bike…

Well, it’s not that buggered, it’s just old really.

I’m talking about my old DiamondBack (DB). My intial plan was to strip it of parts then dump it, but while doing this, Mum had the idea of doing it up so it worked, and sending it to Cambridge for my older brother. His current bike is very old and slowly falling apart. If it were me, i’d have improvised and kept it working, but he’s going to be a vet, and is busy in Cambridge and isn’t overly fussed about bikes / cycling. But anyhow, I also thought this was a good idea, so agreed to the plan.

One major problem was the fact i’d stripped the handlebars already. The flappy paddle shifters/brakes, which are a single combo unit, I’d taken from the DB, and put them on my youngest brothers bike (looks quite good), wired it all up – which took ages, so long i wasn’t taking them off again to go back on the DB. So i needed a 7 speed shifter. My intial idea was to use the 6 speed twist-grips shifters, and just have 6 gears out of 7. However, this was but a minor problem compared to the deraullier. I hit it when having fun on (or should that be off) black ice, so it’s rather very buckled. I thought i’d give it a go at straightening it. But, i looked at it, bent it this way a bit, then up like that, oh, back a bit maybe. It just wasn’t working, and then the hanger snapped – so it wouldn’t work at all.

I decided¬†I needed more parts than¬†I had at the time. I looked at the possiblity of getting one of the old crappy rust buckets from the science park, they were ment to be used by the employees to ride up to the shops or whatever but weren’t. Dad could get one for free, and I could use if for parts, Deraullier, shifters maybe, cables, deraullier hanger. This plan failed when Dad asked he was told there were none left, but he could see them out the back. While talking to his colleuges, one mentined he had some old dodgy things down the bottom of his garden.¬†Yet another¬†plan was hatched.

So, a few days later I took delivery of two beat up rustbuckets. Both only had their front wheels, but everythings else was there, rusty and not very good looking, but there. So I tooke them apart; brake levers, cables, blocks, arms; gear shifters, cables and deraulliers; handlebars; chains; a few bolts; suspension forks, and a middle suspension spring / damper system; light brakest and reflectors. Soon I had a pile of parts and two frames. The chains were badly rusted, the wheel treads were weathered and cracked, a set of brake levers were simply awful, so I threw those away.

Good news; one of the bikes had a 7 speed system. Bad news; the deraullier had been in a crash or something, and the deraullier cage was really badly bent. Still, I now had a 7 speed shifter if nothing else. The other bikes 5 speed deraullier was still good, but too small for use on a  7 speed set. But, it had a nice cage. I stripped both deraulliers down, used the straighter cage from the 5 speed to renovate the 7 speed, chose all the shiniest bolts and bushes and reassembled the 7 speed deraullier, at a later date i straighted the bent cgae out in a vice and have reassembled the 5 speed, though it needs a new jockey wheel.

I used the brake levers off youngest bros for the DB already. So¬†I now had brakes, a 7 speed shifter and matching deraullier, and no hanger. I tried to work my way round the missing hanger, but with the DB’s frame thats not possible. A trip to halfords and ¬£15 later¬†I had a new hanger. I bolted it in place, perfect, now for the deraullier. On it went, I split the chain, unthreaded it from the old deraullier and through the new one. Selected the least rusty cable, threaded that through the shifter, mounted the shifter an the bars, threaded the cable down all the casing to the deraullier¬†and connected it.

Here we go, pedal. Bit of a noise, but nothing I can’t adjust out of. OK, we’re in 7th, down to 6th – deraullier didn’t move. 5th, still nothing. 4th, it jumped into 6th. 3rd had it in 5th, 2nd on the shifter was 3rd on the cogs and 1st was 2nd. Dam, not too good. Oh well, new deraullier (relativly) new cable and shifter, first time, no adjustment, crappy changes were to be expected. Half an hour later, however, it still wasn’t working. i’d adjusted everything and still it was crap. I took another look at the deraullier position, hello… that top jockey wheels at a peculiar angle. squinting at various angles I realised it wasn’t just the cage that was bent. I took the deraullier off again, and went at it with several tools. It’s a spindle / pivot thats bent. No way to get to it without specialist tools. Bugger.

I’ve a friend at church who is a bike nutter, and has been for years. He’s the old 60-ish year old who can do 20 odd miles and still be up for more. Anyway, the dreaullier was shown to him, and he said he might have somthing similar in his shed. So hopefully, i’ll have a better 7 speed deraullier before too long. If not, i’ll consider a smaller deraullier and just wire it up so it gets 6 out of 7. Also the hanger is an issue, the deraullier must have the correct arm for the hanger. So¬†I may not find anything suitable.

If thats the case, it’s back to Plan A – parts and dump. But¬†I hope that doesn’t happen, it’s a good bike, faithful and sturdy. It’ll enjoy a simple life in Cambridge¬†I think. So I hope i can get the parts needed.

We’ll see, the future is unwritten, what comes next is unkown.

Untill the next post,

Uncle Austin Wozzer