Saturday, 10 September 2016

Granny gear

Next week some of the ladies (and one lad aka one of the husbands, not mine) from the cycling club are heading Up North to do the NC500. For safety's sake - and to avoid the worst of the A9 between John O'Groat's and Inverness - we are altering the route slightly, however it will still mean some pretty meaty riding distances over six days.

Oh, and a few hills. Quite a few, in fact.

Cue discussions with OH about the gearing on my bike.
It got quite, ahem, technical. He is an engineer after all.

LCM - I need to get a bigger gearing on my bike, the cassette on my new one is only 11-25t.

OH - You have a 50/34t compact chainset, you don't need any more.

LCM - But all the good climbers have at least 11-28!

OH - You don't do any hills.

LCM - Maybe I would if getting up them was not such a struggle?

OH - And your new bike is 11-speed. Your old one was only 9. You already have two extra gears.

LCM - Even some of the men in the cycling club have a 28 big ring!

OH - Your gearing is fine.

Maybe I just need to buckle down and bite the bullet. Or grind my teeth as the pros do when tackling the big climbs (to the point of wrecking their pearly whites and requiring extensive dental repairs later on judging by some of the books I have read).

Alternatively, I could visit my local bike shop - conveniently the name behind our cycling club, therefore providing labour free of charge to members - and 'just do it'.

Guess what?

this is what you call
"a very nice granny gear"

I haven't told OH.

I'm just waiting to see how long before he notices.
Or asks how I coped with the hills.


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Blind leading the blind

It says something about 'where' you are in your own life cycle when you take notes at a meeting - without glasses - and then fail categorically to make sense of what you have written.

I developed, during my university days, my own form of shorthand. It is something I used to pride myself on as being the sole individual who could interpret it. It certainly put paid to other slackers who asked if they could "copy my notes" and then never asked again.

The problem more recently, however, was that *I* was stumped with my own scrawl.

So I did what any sane person would do in today's age: I posted on Facebook and asked for help.

Cue an old friend commenting that I would "make a great GP".
Funny that. Medicine had been my first choice of career but events conspired against me.

And then another friend (with a PhD in Community Health) came to the rescue.
She pointed out that I might have (horror, shock) spelt one word incorrectly and therefore the interpretation of what followed did not make sense.

Guess what?
She was absolutely right.

And when I thanked her, she noted that she "can read doctor's writing. Years of practice."

Definitely missed my calling.

to... two... sle... sla... what...?


Saturday, 6 August 2016

Cack handed

In my time I have been known to take, edit and post a few pretty natty movie clips, if I say so myself.

Some have been impulsive filming sessions on holiday, some have been more structured in content.
Most have been downright silly and tongue-in-cheek.

However today I probably - inadvertently - outdid myself.

On a bike ride with my cycling club I managed to extract my phone from my rear pocket, turn it on, get the video working and shoot some footage... all with my left hand and without either falling off my bike or dropping the phone itself.

And before you tut-tut me, it was on a closed road in Windsor Great Park.

However, I appear to have failed categorically when it comes to pressing the 'stop' button.

The result? Quite comical.

Judge for yourself.



Thursday, 21 July 2016


There is absolutely nothing I can think of that will effortlessly lift one's spirits than the prospect of a rendezvous with Kevin.


Despite the absence of three members (Tough Mudda called to end-of-year school performance duties, La Diplomat dealing with visiting relatives, and the Wine Writer undertaking experiments involving chicken houses, children's feet and lack of running water - yes, we were confused too) we still managed to put the world to rights and host some serious conversations that did not necessarily involve either a) food, or b) books.


Although of course it did not take long for us to partake in the former and discuss the latter.
And the Pimms was delicious too, especially on a hot summer evening in the Doctor of Psychology's leafy garden.

However, the most important item on the agenda was the upcoming nuptials of one of the Kevinettes: yes, Belfast Blonde is getting married next month and hence the bookclub momentarily transformed itself into an impromptu hen party.

Cue gifts.

All food or book related. 
Funny that.

And balloons.
Helium (one) and LED versions (five, one of which then burst because, as the Lovely Radiographer scolded me, "You made it too big!" - first time for everything, I guess).

And a veil - complete with cutouts of wedding themed book title covers.
Absolutely priceless.

But the coup de grace was the pink sash. 

Our lovely hen donned it with pride. 
We all looked at it askance, tried to decipher the lettering, and then the Botanical Artist voiced what most of us were thinking.

"Who is Kevinshen?"

"Oh," replied the Lovely Radiographer, "They didn't do apostrophes!"

So there you go.

Kevinshen is getting married.

No apostrophes required because she is pure class and we love her.

Kevinshen - a bookclub first


Sunday, 10 July 2016

How to make a mess in two short weeks - the speedy guide

Yes, it's still imploding.

And yes, it's going to get even worse.

We are but at at the peak of a very slippery slide-y slope into the depths of self-annihilation by proxy, aka 'how-to-push-the-destruct-button-without-assistance-because-it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time'.

I can only poke fun at a situation that is almost too comical to be real (but it is, real, I mean) and seek humour in what has become the death knell for my own business that I have spent three years building. I won't bore you with details, suffice to say that 'postponement' and 'procrastination' - by clients, not me - has morphed into total shutdown and cost-cutting with immediate effect and no sign of change for the foreseeable future.

Oh joy.

So we had this:

the 'real' reason DC had to resign

And this:

the truth behind the back-stabbing 'partnership'

And this:

I have no words
(well, I do, but not fit for publication)

Which has now morphed into this:

the man from Del Monte, he say he no go anywhere

Being challenged by this:

the Eagle has (almost) landed


Oh no. 

That little ditty now comes down to these two:

twins separated at birth?

And guess what?

Rather than focus on the humongous f*ck up that has been left by the referendum (at every level), the press and the country are now having a right old ding-dong about whether being a mother or not is a qualifying feature to lead a bunch of feckwits party country as the nation faces the abyss.

Talk about missing the point.

But then again, I guess that is consistent with the whole issue, isn't it? 

Hooray for propaganda. At least the results will be unswerving in that regard.

*continues to shake head in disbelief*


Sunday, 26 June 2016

It's okay, I get it

Just in case you had been living in a cave of late, there has been an historic event taking place here in Blighty. Let me enlighten you.

We have - sorry, had - a Prime Minister who won the last election with an outright majority. Unfortunately there was plenty of infighting and bickering amongst the ranks, so rather than act like the patriarchal figure he was elected to be, he appeased them with a sweetener.

"If we win, we shall hold a referendum about Britain being a member of the EU, okay?" he said, to much applause of those feeling aggrieved.

Now, had he been somewhat more aggressive like, I dunno, Maggie Thatcher, he might have actually said, "Sod off you lot, if you don't like the way I'm running the show, then the door's that way!" But he didn't. He let the toddlers have their tantrums and then rewarded them for chucking all their toys out of the pram.

Amazing. Even Adele has better crowd control. But then she can sing and engage with an audience, so I sort of rest my case.

Anyway. Cometh the man, cometh the hour.

Fast forward one year from the election and the referendum indeed takes place. Now this is where it gets confusing, so pay attention.

The PM is renown for constantly slagging off Europe. It is, apparently, the bane of his life and the reason for everything that is out of his control. Except tax havens. That's a whole other story. But he conveniently glosses over that.

However, as the factions line up on both sides of the 'leave' or 'remain' argument, the PM opts to prop up the latter. It turns out he does like Europe, after all! So do many others, from a variety of backgrounds - former arch enemies are suddenly best buddies, amazing!

The voting electorate is very confused.

Even more confusing is that the doomsayers heading up the campaign to 'get Britain back' consist of some of the most polarising individuals in current politics: a floppy haired former mayor of London, a prior Education Secretary who vilified virtually every educator in the country with his lofty agendas, and a self-confessed 'man of the people' who made his fortune as a commodities broker, headlined a racist propaganda campaign and failed not once, not twice, but seven times to be elected as an MP.

Quite a collection of misfits. Did I also mention that the first two were journalists-turned-politicians? No, thought not, but there you go.

So. Referendum day. The nation on tenterhooks. Twelve long weeks of ugly, nasty and thoroughly unpleasant campaigning over.

Guess what? Britain votes - albeit by a very small margin - to turn its back on the EU.

I won't go into the pros and cons and arguments, there has been plenty of writing about it and many, many incredibly eloquent pieces over the past forty-eight hours. Far more than I could ever piece together coherently in this blog post.

I will merely say two things to put matters into some perspective:

  1. the second most searched for question in the UK since the results were announced was, "What is the EU?", and;
  2. this is the only time in over twenty-five years of living in the UK (more than half my life, in other words) that I am seriously considering moving to Australia.
Time will tell.

In the meantime, much sadness, shock and quite a degree of anger.



Sunday, 5 June 2016

Once more unto the doctor

Hey ho, guess who's back? None other than the infamous Doctor LCM of the even more infamous BADASS* clinic.

After more than a year's sabbatical, the piles of pleading letters could no longer be ignored. It was time to deal with the clamouring requests and select a choice patient whose dilemma needed attention tout suite.

The lucky individual to benefit from the Doctor's words of wisdom in this edition is desperate. And when we say desperate, we mean just that, in every sense of the word.

So without further ado, let's get going.

"Dear Doctor LCM,

For many days weeks months now I have been trying to find meaning in my life. I get up, have breakfast, shower, dress, sit at my desk, look at my computer and... wait. 

That's it. 

No matter how hard I stare at the screen, or how many fingers I cross, or how many lucky omens I seek out, nothing is forthcoming. It would seem that the world turns and I am at a standstill.
All the 'How To' manuals, the TV programmes, the self-help courses and so forth have come to nothing. So many promises of what or where I should be at this point of my life have failed categorically to eventuate. 

Surely I am due a revelation of some sort to guide me on a path of enlightenment?

Please help. I am very disheartened and confused.

Fond regards,

Doctor LCM replies:


Unless you have been living in a cave of late, there is a referendum in little over a couple of weeks' time which will determine whether the UK stays in Europe or not. As I see it, you have a few options to find, as you so aptly put it, 'meaning in your life':

  1. sign up to the 'Leave' campaign - that way you will find yourself in the esteemed company of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin,  Rupert Murdoch et al which in itself should give you plenty to worry about (e.g. slight racism) other than your own persona;
  2. sign up to the 'Stay' campaign - that way you will find yourself in the esteemed company of David Cameron, George Osbourne and 'friends' (read: the entire political spectrum of the world on both sides regardless of past history or disagreements) and be able to focus on learning how to talk to the general public as if everyone were a moron given they did not attend Eton or the like;
  3. migrate

I also hear the clergy are recruiting as current numbers are low. Am sure they would welcome you with open arms. Possibly more given recent trends. Plenty of 'meaning' there, my dear fellow.

The choice, as they say, is yours.

You're welcome,


If you too have a pressing business or personal matter that you would like answered or on which to receive similar valuable advice, please submit to the Doctor and wait patiently in line.

*Business Advisory and Select Services


Yadda yadda yadda...